Maltese film Luzzu is centred around fishing and, more specifically, the traditional style of fishing which is being phased out/pushed out as quotas and more up-to-date methods are pushed to the fore.
Jesmark (non-actor Jesmark Scicluna), is a traditional fisherman. Working incredibly hard for his meagre haul, fishing in his luzzu boat which was built and used by his father, grandfather, great grandfather before him. However, problems with his boat needing repairs and the ability to sell his fish has put his delicately balanced financial life into trouble on top of having to deal with his new baby having problems and needing specialist treatment.
As his life starts to descend into the mire and his partner Denise (Michaela Farrugia) seeming to want to ask her wealthier parents for help (something that Jesmark does not want to do), he finds a resourceful way out which, while not entirely above board, it is a means to an end. But does this open him up to exploitation and risk of arrest?
Using non-actors here is not noticeable at all. There is plenty of emotion on show and it is easy to get invested in the occurrences. Using much the same theme as in The Seed, although maybe not quite with the same level of tension and atmosphere, this film deals with the very real threat of financial and work pressures bleeding out into familial life and the knock on effects of this.
Luzzu is gorgeously filmed and steadily controlled. Alex Camilleri has made a really good film here amongst the fantastic locations and heightened by the realistic dialogue and great, honest performances.