When I first sat down to watch A Sicilian Dream I was very skeptical. Firstly, I know absolutely nothing about Italian motor-sports, nor do I normally enjoy theatrical documentaries. However, I went into this with an open mind, and really learnt some things from the whole experience. A Sicilian Dream is a theatrical documentary about the legendary Sicilian motor race, the Targa Florio. Presented by Motor racing champion Alain de Cadenet and Italian architect, writer and presenter Francesco da Mosto. We follow the history of the Targa Florio from it’s humble beginnings, through it’s hey-day and eventually to its finish.
The first things that I really loved about the films was it’s visuals. Making Italy look beautiful isn’t that hard, but the way in which the creators have shot this film enhances that natural beauty beyond what I have seen before. However, it is not just with the scenery that they have achieved this. Every shot in the film is visually stunning. The use of tight angle shots is very well done. They are high definition and show of the beauty of these machines. Throughout the picture the audience is often just listening to Francesco talk, yet we are treated to such stunning visuals that it really sets the scene for what he is talking about.
Being a theatrical documentary meant that A Sicillian Dream used actors to re-create scenes from the past that they didn’t have clips for. This in theory is a great idea, and keeping the Italian language was great; however, I cannot say the same about the scenes. The acting seemed very wooden and forced, with over reactions and poor scripting. It didn’t feel natural; it was obvious that they were being told what to say. Once again, these scenes were filmed beautifully and some of shots were very creative which worked well, but sadly they didn’t work as a whole. To add to this, there are a couple of times where filters are added to the film to make it clear that it is the past, but I feel this was very unnecessary and came across as tacky.
The documentary side of this film was where it really shone. As someone who knew nothing about Italian motor-sport I was genuinely engaged. The information was interesting and relevant, with some fantastic interviews to follow up the facts with. They spoke to members of the public who had been around when the races were at their peek of jocularity, and to hear such passion was incredible. It was also fantastic to hear a lot of Italian, rather than just translations. It made the stories feel so sincere and brought them back to their roots.
Overall, I did enjoy A Sicilian Dream. It was a film that I really didn’t know what to expect with, but turned out to be visually beautiful and rather informative. It’s not something that I’m going to rush back to, and if I’m honest I doubt many people would enjoy it that much if they didn’t have any sort of interest in the subject matter. However this is often the ways with documentary films. At the end of the day, it is a film about Italian motorsport made by people who are passionate about it, for people who are passionate about it.
I did an interview with motor-sport fanatic and lead drummer from pink Floyd, Nick Mason earlier this week and we spoke about the film and what racing means to him. You can find that here