Thursday, 12 November 2009


A delightfully moving Italian film that actually left me feeling quite broody – ha ha!

Circus worker Patty finds a two year old girl abandoned on the swings in a park with a note attached to her saying to look after her daughter and she will be back to collect her soon. Despite initial reservations and protests from family and friends at the travellers camp, Patty embraces the little girl into her life and takes on the role of surrogate mother almost instantaneously.  The little girl gives a cute, infectious performance – one of those HOW DID THEY GET HER TO DO THAT? performances – and the happiness she brings to everyone she interacts with is clearly evident by the beaming grins and looks of contentment on their faces whenever she is present.

There’s not much of a plot, more of a moving tableau watching the characters’ love grow and develop for the little girl. There’s some wonderful little snapshots: when the teenage boy on the camp takes her to a pizzeria, or when he puts adult sized Wellies on her so she can splash through the puddles.  It is hugely apparent that they adore her, and they don’t want to have to give her back to this ‘mystery real mother’. Patty wants her permanently as a daughter – she doesn’t have any children herself - and the little girl has completely captivated her.  Her attempt to try and fill in adoption papers is a real heart tugger.

The ending is deliberately open-ended – the little girl falls asleep in Patty’s arms after her goodbye party, and they wait for the real mother to show up. We never know if she comes or not or what the eventual outcome is.  But that’s sort of irrelevant: the film is over, and the last scene is Patty content with the little girl who is safe and happy. And I think that’s all we need to know.

Warm, uplifting, funny, stirring and oodles of cute! Go see!

La Pivellina won the Golden Owl Award for best film at the 2009 Leeds Film Festival.

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