Dir: Michele Vanucci | Cast: Alessandro Borghi, Luigi Lo Cascio, Marius Bizau, Emilia Scarpati Fanetti | Drama Italy, 105′
Italy’s Po Delta is the setting for this atmospheric river bound Western based on a vendetta between local fishermen and poachers. Delta is a powerful feature arousing strong emotions based on racial prejudice and the desperation of those trying to escape the past or survive the privations of a future in poverty.
This impressive second feature for Italian director Michele Vanucci follows Osso (Lo Cascio) a well-meaning volunteer working to save the river from overfishing at the hands of the Florians, a family on the run from Eastern Europe who are now plundering the river’s rich fish stocks flouting local bylaws introduced in the 1980s to protect fishing rights.
The Florians have joined forces with baleful petty criminal Elia (Borghi), now back in town after living abroad. Osso and Elio go back a long way and share a bitter history. Elio had a relationship with Osso’s ex-wife Anna (Scarpati Fanetti) and is still in love with her. But however hostile Elio and his gang become in maintaining their position, Osso is not going to back down on an issue close to his heart.
Creating a palpable sense of place in this region of murky mists and rich heritage, Vanucci weaves into the narrative original archive footage and photos of traditional fisherman going about their business to illustrate the intensity of feeling the river and its wildlife hold for local inhabitants.
Overwhelmed by blind violence, the two rivals will face each other in the fog of the Delta as their internecine struggle intensifies in this compelling and original feature echoing the gritty style of Giuseppe De Santis and driven forward by passionate performances from Italian star duo Alessandro Borghi and Luigi Lo Cascio. MT
LOCARNO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2022