Blurb Watch: The Sicilian Girl May Be Fascinating, Thrilling, and Nail-Biting, Just Not “FASCINATING, THRILLING, NAIL-BITING!”
I don't keep a tally, I admit, of how often our reviews get blurbed on movie posters—though I'd imagine the answer is "very, very occasionally." But I feel compelled to correct the record somewhat after seeing Washington City Paper's name adorning a poster at E Street Cinema* last night, beneath the words "FASCINATING, THRILLING, NAIL-BITING!"
Those words all appear in critic Tricia Olszewski's short review of The Sicilian Girl from our Romania-themed Filmfest DC issue from this April, but not in that order, and certainly sans an exclamation point. She writes (emphasis mine):
If you think that standing up to the Mafia is a suicidal endeavor—well, The Sicilian Girl won’t exactly convince you otherwise. But the film does offer a thrilling and nail-biting portrayal of what someone who was born into the thug life can do when she decides to speak out about those who’ve wronged her family.
The Sicilian Girl is based on a true story, one that writer-director Marco Amenta previously told in his 1997 documentary about Rita. This fictionalization romanticizes some details and, despite its excellent execution—particularly D’Agostino’s passionate performance—it may leave you wishing you’d just caught the doc instead. Either way, the melodrama that was Rita’s life is a fascinating watch.
In other words: Whoever pulled together the ad copy for The Sicilian Girl was really strained for material. (I imagine that foreign films that receive slow-trickle releases mostly have to draw quotes from the festival circuit.) To the producers' credit, at least, they grabbed Olszewski's words from a single source. Last year, the poster for the documentary The Way We Get By created a composite quote from two different articles, a review and a roundup, by former CP staffer Mike Riggs.
Anyway, we wouldn't want you to think we're quote whores, on whom eFilmCritic keeps a useful eye. Pick up this week's Washington City Paper for more of our typically unexcerptable copy. Now with 150 percent fewer adjectives!
* I was at E Street seeing Soul Kitchen, of which I did not assign a review last week. However, it was: Hilarious! Heart-warming! Slyly subversive! Restored my faith in human's capacity for resilience! OK, I kid. This third film by the German-Turkish auteur Fatih Akin is his first comedy, and it feels like that time David Gordon Green gave up directing immaculate Southern Gothic dramas to helm pot comedies. That is: I'm sure Akin has a great, cerebral comedy in him, but Soul Kitchen feels beneath him. It revolves around a restaurant, has mostly predictable characters and a weirdly balanced plot, and involves many, many sight gags. There's a fair bit of food porn, too, if that's your thing. But all of Akin's filmic powers are at work here if not his writerly ones—it's very well-executed fluff. A lark, but a worthwhile one.