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'La Chimera' (2024)

Alice Rohrwacher really is a fabulous director. Her last feature ‘Happy as Lazzaro’ was a strange trip into a slice of Italy, and ‘La Chimera’ is another oddity from a corner of Italy that is beautifully captured and presented in vignetted aspect ratios and topsy turvy camerawork.

Josh O’Connor is amazing here as a sort of regional, ethically dubious Indiana Jones figure who leads a group of low lives that raid archaic tombs for relics that he sells on the black market, and as others have written – this feels like a troupe that wouldn’t be out of place in a Fellini film. He speaks Italian most of the film and his performance is nothing short of magical. Along with this bunch of other misfits helping to raid the tombs he is fresh out of prison (presumable for being caught stealing relics)and cuts a forlorn, troubled character looking for a remnant of his lost love Beniamina. He lives in a dilapidated hut and visits Beniamina’s mother, played by Isabella Rossellini (who just seems to get more elegant with every film she does).

Although the story gets a tad histrionic in the third act, it’s a beautiful dose of strange, alluring magical realism that captures love and grief in a really lovely way. This one’s sure o be at the top of the 2024 list