Rent Luzzu (2021)

3.5 of 5 from 108 ratings
1h 31min
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Jesmark, a struggling fisherman on the island of Malta, must make an agonising choice: repair his leaking luzzu - the traditional wooden fishing boat that has been in his family for generations - or decommission it and give in to the temptation of illicit dealing on the black market. Featuring a Sundance Film Festival award-winning lead performance from Jesmark Scicluna - a non-professional actor and real life fisherman - Alex Camilleri's acclaimed debut feature takes inspiration from Italian Neorealist filmmakers and offers a glimpse into the beauty of an island rarely portrayed in cinema.
, , , Marta Vella, Timur Ali, , , , , , Royin Grech, Rebecca Fenech, Joseph Schiavone, Ignazio Schembri, , Reece Vella, Joseph Agius, Philip Agius, Emanuele Muscat, Noel Grech
Alex Camilleri
Rebecca Anastasi, Ramin Bahrani, Alex Camilleri, Oliver Mallia
Alex Camilleri
Peccadillo Panorama
Release Date:
Run Time:
91 minutes
English Audio Description, Maltese Dolby Digital 5.1
English Hard of Hearing
DVD Regions:
Region 0 (All)
Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen 1.78:1 / 16:9
  • Interview with Writer/ Director Alex Camilleri
  • Test Footage 'Lampuki' and 'Slipway'
  • Jesmark Scicluna Screen Test
  • Theatrical Trailer

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Reviews (1) of Luzzu

Quietly impressive neo-realism - Luzzu review by PD

Spoiler Alert

Writer-director Alex Camilleri’s debut feature focuses on the plight of Jesmark, a young Maltese fisherman — wonderfully played by an actual Maltese fisherman — whose longstanding family trade is upended by a bureaucracy making it increasingly hard to earn a living. Naturalistic and perhaps a bit too obvious in parts, the film is generally a moving tale of real-world strife — a sort of low-key take on Visconti’s neorealist La Terra Trema, with officials, regulations and giant trawlers rapidly destroying seafaring practices that have existed for generations. The director is perhaps guilty of stacking the deck a bit too highly against Jesmark (a potential health problem with his baby son and an intrusive mother-in-law seem to me particularly unnecessary) but the film nevertheless convincingly portrays a ruthless world in which a morally intact, hardworking young man is strongly encouraged to give up his soul to feed his family.

Jesmark Scicluna, making his debut along with the rest of the cast, provides a stoical presence that commands attention, although he is unsurprisingly less surefooted during the film’s overtly dramatic moments, especially those involving his partner Denise and her family, and it's notable throughout that there is absolutely no sharing with them (on screen at any rate) his dilemma whether to continue fishing or to sell-out. However, when the moment of decision arrives, a sequence involving a montage of the boats' unblinking eyes packs quite an emotional punch.

The central theme is the depiction of an embattled community - the choice to cast non-professional actors in the key roles brings an additional layer of authenticity: the grizzled fishermen clearly know their way around not only the boats but also the history and mythology which surrounds them - but it's also unexpectedly far-reaching, being also an exploration of masculinity in crisis, of the attrition of traditions by the forces of progress and of the agonies and uncertainties of new parenthood. And in the process the film produces a vision of Malta that’s far from the postcard-friendly vistas seen in most other films to reveal an island shaken by global economics. Quietly impressive.

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