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film

Alice Rohrwacher’s The Wonders

Alice Rohrwacher, Le meraviglie (The Wonders), 2014, Super 16 transferred to digital video, color, sound, 111 minutes. Center: Milly Catena (Monica Bellucci).

WRITER-DIRECTOR Alice Rohrwacher’s oeuvre to date may be small, but she has quickly established herself as one of the finest chroniclers of girlhood in two uncommonly graceful and astute coming-of-age stories. Her feature debut, Corpo Celeste (2011), tracks not-quite-thirteen Marta (played by the unaffected yet confident nonprofessional Yle Vianello), whose family has returned to Italy after a decade living in Switzerland, as she navigates not only a new town and a changing body but also the confounding lessons promulgated in her confirmation class. The scenario allows for several wry observations on the absurdity and increasing irrelevance of the Catholic Church—a point pushed a little too hard on occasion, via freighted symbols such as an enormous crucifix floating in the sea. More rooted in the material world, though still making space for the fantastical, Rohrwacher’s

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