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The Crack Magazine

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Small Body

Director: Laura Samani Stars: Celeste Cescutti, Ondina Quadri This bewitching fable-like tale traces a young woman’s desperate odyssey through early 20th century Italy. Agata (Cescutti) lives in a small coastal town in North Eastern Italy. She is distraught when she gives birth to a stillborn baby and no comfort is provided by the local priest who refuses to baptise the deceased child. Then Agata hears of a mystic sanctuary in the mountains where her baby can be baptised. Leaving her husband and family behind, she sets off with the child’s body in a makeshift wooden backpack. En route she meets the sprite-like gypsy Lynx (Quadri) who offers to help her, believing that Agata has valuables in her backpack that they can share on arrival. During the trip they encounter bandits and have to take a perilous shortcut through a mining tunnel. Despite the harrowing subject matter, Samani locates moments of kindness, camaraderie and mythical wonder, while the lovely cinematography contrasts the golden-hued woodlands and cosy interiors with the grey blue chilly northern environs. Frederika Stahl’s choral soundtrack adds to the dark fairy-tale quality.