Run time: 122 MINS

Director: Fabio Grassadonia, Antonio Piazza

Cast:  Julia Jedlikowska, Gaetano Fernandez, Corinne Musallari, Andrea Falzone, Federico Finocchiaro, Lorenzo Curcio, Vincenzo Amato, Sabine Timoteo, Filippo Luna, Baldassare Tre Re, Rosario Terranova, Gabriele Falsetta, Vincenzo Crivello, Corrado Santoro, Nino Prester.

Synopsis: Set in a little Sicilian village at the edge of a forest, this is the story of adolescent innocence and painful reality. Giuseppe (Fernandez) is the son of a man with mafia connections who has turned informer. One day, this 13 year-old boy vanishes.  Luna (Jedlikowska), his classmate who loves him, refuses to accept his mysterious disappearance. She and her friend Loredana (Corinne Musallari) petition the townsfolk to find him but to no avail. Rebelling against the code of silence and collusion that surrounds her, Luna refuses to give up her search, desperate to find the boy she so bashfully loves.


Co-directors Fabio Grassadonia and Antonio Piazza follow up their dazzling 2013 debut Salvo with a beautifull mix of fairy tale and mythological tropes, combined with the harsh reality of a Mafia kidnapping.

The fact-based screenplay is adapted by Grassadonia and Piazza from the story Un cavaliere bianco [A white knight] from the book Non saremo confusi per sempre [We will not be confused forever/ We will never be confused] by Marco Mancassola.

The duo beautifully and imaginatively blend in elements to give this ambitious, mesmerising and haunting film the richness of fairy tales and the obscenities of Mafia control.

The film is inspired and dedicated to the memory of 12-year-old Giuseppe Di Matteo, abducted in 1996, held for 779 days and then brutally killed on orders of Sicilian Mafia boss Giovanni Brusca in order to silence his father, Santino – a cooperating witness in the Falcone assassination case.

Julia Jedlikowska stars as young Luna, who loves her 13-year-old boyfriend Giuseppe (Gaetano Fernandez) and refuses to sweep his disappearance under the carpet. Her bond with the kidnapped Giuseppe is established through fairy tale symbols — a forest, a cave, animals, a lake and a reappearing owl. Luna watches Giuseppe be awed at a butterfly on his hand when she is startled by a ferret sniffing at her heels. Then the pair are then menaced by a Rottweiler which just been gnawing on a dead rabbit

Luna’s Swiss mother Saveria (Sabine Timoteo) knows her daughter has a crush on Giuseppe and is very unhappy about this Romeo and Juliet-type romance.

There are obvious strong fairy tale parallels but the directors also stress links with the myth of Persephone, whose mother Demeter wandered in desperate search for her kidnapped daughter. Through no coincidence, the town where the film was shot, Troina, is not far from Lake Pergusa, where Hades abducted Persephone and through whose waters he brought his prize down to the underworld.

The outstanding cinematography of Luca Bigazzi [The Young Pope (TV 2016- ); Youth (2015); The Great Beauty (2013)], features striking underwater shots, while the forest in late autumn hints at other famous fairy tales like ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ and adds dread to the horrific reality.

The two very young lead actors are superb, ably abetted by a strong performance by Corinne Musallari, as Luna’s special best friend Loredana.

Sicilian Ghost Story is steeped in fairy tale references and skilfully blends teenage romance, gothic fantasy and Mafia thriller.

Images courtesy of ALTITUDE FILMS