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House by the Medlar Tree

The House by the Medlar Tree


Pasquale Scimeca

  • Country: Italy
  • Year: 2010
  • Language: Italian
  • Producer: Linda Di Dio
  • Executive Producer: Arbash
  • Runtime: 94
  • Programmes:

Based on Giannni Verga's novel that Visconti used for La terra trema, the film follows the ups and downs of a family of fishermen whose livelihood centres around their boat. While the older generation is married to the sea the younger members of the family question this future.

DramaEuropeFamily Relations

screening times

    • Wednesday September 15
    • 8:15:00 PM
    • Thursday September 16
    • 5:45:00 PM
    • AMC 6
    • Saturday September 18
    • 10:00:00 AM

Note: indicates Premium Screening.

official description

Based on the novel by Giovanni Verga – which also provided the source material for Luchino Visconti’s seminal film, La terra trema – The House by the Medlar Tree sees director Pasquale Scimeca returning to his Sicilian birthplace. The story of a fisherman and his family is set against the cruel vagaries of the ocean from which they eke out a living, but which is also the source of continual tragedies and challenges. Magnificently photographed, the film captures the shifting moods of the stunning seascapes and the interior chiaroscuro of the family house.

The House by the Medlar Tree is a study in contrasts. In a culture deeply embedded in tradition, the old and the new juggle for ascendancy as the younger generation resists the ways of the past. Scimeca lovingly portrays the inner dynamics at the core of this family, headed by the magisterial and dignified patriarch who is beholden to the sea as the place where he and his forefathers have made their living. For his daughter, the ocean is a place of dread and tragedy and she constantly fears for the safety of her husband. The children see the fishery as a fading source of income and look elsewhere for work, travelling north as migrant workers. And then there are the daughters and girlfriends, each with their own singular relationship to the sea. The family boat is named Providenza – Providence – and although it is the family’s main provider, it is also a symbol of their unspoken despair. Old and creaky, its fate provides much of the film’s drama.

The House by the Medlar Tree expertly portrays the indefatigable nature of the fishermen. The line between survival and disaster is often just a storm away; inured to hard times, they remain dignified in the face of impending disaster. Borrowing against their house to rebuild their boat is only the first in a series of challenges that this Sicilian family must overcome to remain together. The House by the Medlar is a timeless story that resonates profoundly in today’s world.

Piers Handling

director bio

Pasquale Scimeca was born in Aliminusa in Palermo, Italy. He attended university in Florence and went on to teach literature and history. He has directed such documentaries as Appunti per un film (93), L’Altra Sicilia (94) and Paolo Borsellino (95). His narrative feature films include La Donzeletta (89), Un Sgno perso (92), Il Giorno di San Sebastiano (93), Briganti di Zabut (97), Placido Rizzotto (00), which won the FEDIC award at the Venice International Film Festival, The Undesireables (03), The Passion of Joshua the Jew (05) and The House by the Medlar Tree (10).

full credits

Principal Cast: Antonio Ciurca, Omar Noto, Giuseppe Firullo, Elena Ghezzi, Greta Tomasello, Doriana La Fauci, Vincenzo Albanese
Linda Di Dio
Executive Producer:
Duccio Cimatti
Francesca Bracci
Maricetta Lombardo
Alfio Antico
Production Designer:
Paolo Previti
Production Company:
Arbash/Classic/Cinecittà Luce/Cinesicilia
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