CIRCLE AWARD

Luzzu

ALEX CAMILLERI
Malta, 2021
94 minutes, Color

Jesmark, a Maltese fisherman, contends with a newfound leak in his wooden luzzu boat. Barely getting by, he sees his livelihood—and a family tradition from generations before him—imperiled by diminishing harvests, a ruthless fishing industry, and a stagnating ecosystem. Desperate to provide for his wife and their newborn son, who has a growth impediment that requires treatment, Jesmark gradually slips into an illicit black-market fishing operation. This is a poignant, humanistic portrait of an eclipsing way of life, its authenticity stemming from the years filmmaker Alex Camilleri spent befriending Maltese fishermen, who then became his cast. The film serves as a reflection on sustainable ecosystems and the consequences of climate change for these fishermen. You feel their struggle, the loss of an identity tied to tradition, and a love for the sea and the colorful luzzu boats with their carved-wood faces.—Sundance Film Festival

The film won the Special Jury Award for Acting at the Sundance Film Festival.

In Maltese with English subtitles

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