(director/writer: Julien Colonna; screenwriter: Jeanne Herry; cinematographer: Antoine Cormier; editors: Albertine Lastera, Yann Malcor; music: Audrey Ismael; cast: Ghjuvanna Benedetti (Lesia), Saveriu Santucci (Pierre-Paul), Anthony Morganti (Ste), Andrea Cossu (Santu), Frédéric Poggi (Petru), Régis Gomez (Ghjase), Eric Ettori (Jeannot), Thomas Bronzini (Joseph), Pascale Mariani (Louise); Runtime: 108; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Hugo Selignac, Antoine Lafon; Netflix; 2024-France-in French with English subtitles)

“It dazzles us with its authenticity.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

French director Julien Colonna’s feature film debut is a spellbinding Godfather-like film set over one summer on the French island of Corsica (where he grew up), in 1995, that he co-writes with Jeanne Herry. It dazzles us with its authenticity.

The 15-year-old Lesia (Ghjuvanna Benedetti) watches in horror on television the shootouts and car bombings that have broken out on the streets of Corsica between rival crime families and nationalist groups.

Lesia’s widowed father, Pierre-Paul (Saveriu Santucci), is a mysterious figure who heads a mafioso clan on the run from both cops and mobsters. He lives in another part of town from Lesia, moving around in various hideouts and living with tight security.

Lesia leads a normal teenager’s life and has a boyfriend who works in a supermarket. She’s staying with her aunt’s family. When dad, who she cares for deeply, requests that she now live with him, she obeys. This gives her a chance to become closer to a father she hardly knows.

Though Lesia doesn’t know much about what’s going on, the pic is told through her limited POV for most of the film.

The mafia characters are not glorified here, even if they live in villas they too often must go into hiding and live in deplorable places. They carry out hits on scooters, and are always on high alert that the gendarmes or other mobsters will catch them by surprise.

It played at the Cannes Film Festival.