Our review of Piccolo corpo: Maldonne a l’enfant

CRITICISM – Noticed at the last Cannes Film Festival, Laura Samani’s first film tells of mourning and motherhood. Mysterious, dreamlike and harsh.

Funny story. Strange and clear at the same time, it has everything of a dream. It begins at the edge of the sea. A ceremony takes ragged women into the water, to the rhythm of rasping songs in honor of the Virgin. In the middle of them is a pregnant woman. Nothing is known of Agata except that she is beautiful, her face barred by black eyebrows. Later, her child dies without having had time to breathe. Not baptized, then. Limbo awaits him for eternity. The priest is formal on this. “Your heart will eventually forget”assures a toothless old woman.

Played by Celeste Cescutti (a first name that would have suited the character nicely), Agata doesn’t believe it, pulls up her long homespun skirt and climbs the mountain. Under her arm, the box where the corpse of her child lies. She has heard of a sanctuary where, miraculously, babies are resurrected in time to be baptized. The camera follows her like a thief, squinting at her hands or her face. A very white light…

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