The Wonders

This Italian competition film from Alice Rohrwacher has an ordinary family with a largely absent father effectively run by Gelsomina, the 12-year-old daughter who looks after the rest of the beekeeping brood. Her best trick is to allow a bee into her mouth and out again without stinging her.

Unfortunately there is not much sting in the film either, though pleasantly enough played. What happens is that throughout a long, hot summer the strict rules that appear to hold the family together begin to break, just as rural life itself seems to be falling apart too. So far it seems that Nuri Bilge Ceylan and Mike Leigh have little to fear from their competitors, though their are some distinguished names, like David Cronenberg, to come.