One thing that Luzzu gets indisputably correct: Water is beautiful. Alex Camilleri captures in his debut film, with the help of cinematographer Léo Lefèvre, about 37 shades of blue, some bubbly, some murky, some bright, etc. I just wish the film spent even more of its runtime at sea.
Luzzu tells the story of a struggling fisherman in Malta as he reckons with the clash between his small-time fishing career and the crushing capitalistic forces of modern life. His luzzu — a small, beautiful, well-loved fishing boat — becomes a symbol for family and tradition in all its burden and unwieldiness.
The film’s story is unremarkable drama, but not unpleasant. It’s easy to empathize with fisherman Jesmark as he furrows his brow in the midst of financial trouble. It helps that actor Jesmark Scicluna has a rugged face great for furrowing.
The script gets a bit clunky in the film’s second half as Jesmark explores the black market and faces marital strife. But the film moves quickly and hits some poignant beats in its ending.
Luzzu is low-key enough not to warrant any superlatives, but it is a well-constructed, attractive film that achieves its goals and tugs just enough heart-strings.
Note: This review was originally published elsewhere. Please excuse brevity or inconsistencies in style. If you have questions or feedback, please leave a comment or contact me.