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The Crack Magazine

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Il Mio Corpo

Director: Michele Pennetta 

This lyrical, understated and deeply empathetic documentary charts the experiences of two young men scrambling to survive in Sicily. 

Teenager Oscar, along with his brother Marco, works for his unappreciative dad, collecting scrap metal in dumps. Meanwhile Stanley is a Nigerian refugee who earns his keep cleaning at an ornate church, picking at a vineyard and working as a shepherd. 

Almost imperceptibly Pennetta draws the two together via matching images, snatches of conversation and judicious editing. The boys’ domestic situations seem markedly different though: Oscar’s home life, with his bitter single dad seems fairly grim, whereas, in the film’s warmest scenes, Stanley joshes and reminisces about home cooking with his flatmate Blessed, another Nigerian immigrant who is awaiting word of his visa application.

A respite from the hardscrabble life is shown via sequences in which Oscar and his brother glide through town on their bicycles, and Stanley is swimming or dancing frantically at a local dancehall, all lovingly captured by Paolo Ferrari’s beautiful photography. A shot of a statue of the Virgin being hoisted in mid-air may be a darkly ironic nod to the airborne Jesus in the opening sequence of ‘La Dolce Vita’ or a sincere reference to divine grace – it’s up to the audience to decide. Penetta ‘cheats’ his way out of the documentary-style for a closing sequence that should be manipulative, but feels genuinely haunting and melancholy.

Il Mio Corpo is available to stream on Curzon Home Cinema on 11th December

David Willoughby 

Follow David on @DWill_Crackfilm

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