A film by Jean-Marie Straub and Daniele Huillet | 1999 | 66 minutes

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Something as simple as a herring roasting on a hearth, or a meal of bread, wine and winter melon, takes on the humble aura of a Caravaggio painting in this masterful film. That is to say, Straub-Huillet extol ordinary Sicilians who are poor of means but rich in spirit. Filmed in Syracuse and Messina, Sicilia! is a tragicomedy involving an orange peddler, an Italian recently returned from America, two “stinky” police officers, a guilt-stricken landowner, a traveling knife sharpener and, perhaps most unforgettably, an indomitable peasant mother who reminisces about meals of snails and wild chicory, her husband’s philandering and cowardice, and her own father’s belief in an honest day’s labor, socialism, and St. Joseph.

20th Anniversary Digital Restoration


“A masterpiece.” – James Quandt, Artforum

“A passionate and wide-ranging masterwork by Straub and Huillet. With its references to the young man’s travels home and into his past, the lusty and carnivalesque stories that arise in conversation, and the politics of memory, Sicilia! suggests Straub and Huillet’s version of (and improvement on) a Fellini film.” – Richard Brody, The New Yorker