Manuela is a 13-year-old girl from the sprawling, dilapidated suburb of Librino in southern Sicily. She lives with her dysfunctional family and works sweeping floors in a hair salon. After the head of a Virgin Mary statue disappears, Manuela announces one morning that the Madonna appeared to her in a dream—and told her the whereabouts of the statue’s head! As news of the vision spreads, Manuela’s quixotic mother realizes there’s good money in miracles. But was it a miracle, or was Manuela just bored?
A playful satire, “Lost Kisses” feels like the collision of a moral tale and a fairy tale. Director Roberta Torre, whose prior work includes a musical about the Mafia, strikes a clever tone, mixing drab realism with sardonic humor, splashes of vibrant color, and fabulist flourishes (it’s an exceedingly bizarre hair salon). While the film plays with the idea of miracles in our image-obsessed material world, it is grounded emotionally in the relationship between mother and daughter. [Synopsis courtesy of the Sundance Institute]