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Sundance 2021: “Luzzu”


Rating: 5 out of 5.
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Family and parenthood come with responsibilities. We either adjust to the new reality or stay away from it in the first place. That does not mean one should sacrifice himself or herself to prove something. At the end of the day, it’s the result that matters, and without devotion, it will be harder than it seems.

Set in Malta, Jesmark (Jesmark Scicluna) is a hardworking fisherman who hardly makes enough to provide for his wife  (Michela Farrugia) and a newborn son, Aiden, who is not developing properly. Struggling in the harsh fishing industry and with a new leak found in luzzu, the man is determined to do everything possible to save his family and provide the best food to his child, even if it means he needs to get into the black market fishing operation that can cost him much more.

Written and directed by Alex Camilleri, “Luzzu”, which is a traditional Maltese boat used for fishing, centers around Jesmark. To his credit, he adores his son. No matter how tired he is, he looks after him, holds him in his arms and feeds him with formula. His wife, Denise, does not ask much from him. Instead, she asks her parents, which irritates Jesmark, taking this as an offence or embarrassment. He even says at some point – I will take care of you. And he does, to the best of his abilities.

However, Denise, same as her mother, insists that Jesmark must find another job because fishing might be good for summer, but it won’t provide enough if he wants his child and his wife to have everything they need. Jesmark is stubborn in a way too. He does not want to give up fishing. However, no matter how great his love for fishing is, there is nothing more important to him that his family. And to prove it, he will go far and beyond to grow emotionally and psychologically, to take a step forward for a better future.

“Luzzu” is a clever drama that explores the life of a fisherman in the sea who has limited options available to switch to another industry. Also, it captures a good and decent family man who puts his family above everything, even his own interest. This is why there’s never a moment when we would doubt in Jesmark. By looking at him, we know for certain he can make it. He must, with or without his luzzu. He just needs to look at things from a different angle which he’s yet to discover.

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