LE MERAVIGLIE (THE WONDERS) Drama, not rated, 110 minutes, in Italian with subtitles, 5 p.m. Thursday, June 2, Jean Cocteau Cinema, Documentary, not rated, 64 minutes, in English and Italian with subtitles, 2 p.m. Saturday, June 4, Jean Cocteau Cinema,
In the dreamily bucolic Tuscan countryside, Gelsomina (Maria Alexandra Lungu) is on the cusp of adolescence, spending long days working for her family’s beekeeping operation and taking care of her three younger sisters. Her father (Sam Louwyck) rules the family with an iron fist, so when a reality TV show comes to town seeking applicants for a local competition in which seven farmers will vie to have their products featured, he is against their participation. He’s more concerned with the arrival of the silent and sullen Martin, a juvenile delinquent he’s taken on as a worker to help with honey production. But the stubborn Gelsomina schemes to get her family and their honey onto the show, with moving and unexpected results. The film is beautifully shot, and the actors’ performances are stunning to behold, particularly that of the luminous Lungu. With Monica Bellucci as an otherworldly television personality. — Molly Boyle What is identity? asks this 2014 film about one of the great wine success stories of the last century. Barolo wine took the international wine stage by storm in the 1980s and ’90s. This affectionately told story from directors Paolo Casalis and Tiziano Gaia focuses on the “Barolo boys,” a handful of Nebbiolo grape-growers who set off a wave of technical innovations in winemaking techniques starting in the 1970s. Filmed in the lush Langhe region, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and featuring intermittent visits by a brass band, which marches up and down the vineyards trumpeting the enormous pride of these winemakers, the film is irreverent and breezy in classic Italian fashion, with a somewhat meandering narrative that sometimes falters. Still, passion and dedication shine through in interviews with vintners like Elio Altare, an iconoclast who had the vision to deviate from established methods and thus kicked off a revolution in winemaking. As one subject in the film puts it, “We had the power to change things, which is the best thing you can have in life.” — M.B.