The Plight of a Common Man: Luzzu

I have always wondered to what extent a man would go to meet the needs of his family. How much do small businesses suffer from the deeds of megacorporations? With the Covid19 Pandemic hitting the markets real hard with all the inflation, we all have felt the pain of economic burden disintegrating families. Today we bring to you a similar story covering the plight of a common man, a struggle with which we all can relate too. We present to you ‘LUZZU‘, a Maltese drama film directed and written by Alex Camilleri.

Small Fishermen Crushed by Capitalism

In the era of television, news presentation has become more of an eye capturing News bits, and substance has decreased. With all flashy Newsline, it's easy to end up with glary eyes with which we choose to see the world. The absolute reality we believe captures only a small spectrum of livelihood. As for the majority, people belonging to marginal communities getting by a day with food on the plate is a mammoth task to accomplish. 

This story is particularly about the small scale fisherman competing with trawlers for the limited assets in the sea. Jesmark Scicluna has recently been blessed with a baby boy. But his life wasn't a smooth sail like his favourite handcrafted boat called ‘luzzu'. 

He soon got hemmed by hurdles that were around the corner for a long time. With his son needing medical attention and his luzzu getting wrecked at the same time, he got dependent on his friend for a living. 


Corruption and exploitation in the fish market caused his catch to be undersold, making it even harder for him to get by for even a single day. On top of it, the European Union seemed to be leaving no stone unturned as their draconian law completely subdued the needs of independent small scale fishermen. 


All hung in the Balance

With his life crumbling and tragedy striking one after another, a ray of hope emerged as Jesmark got a chance to earn €7,000 but in exchange for his luzzu and his fisherman license. A dream he carried forward by generation and his love for sea all to be lost in a tweak.

Dark Roads

Sense of helplessness Jesmark felt pushes him toward a dark road as he gets his hands into the black market. In his new journey, he gets a companion Uday Maclean with whom he fishes at night. It made us all wonder if burglary is the problem in society or the problem of a society divided into a class system that creates burglars out of necessity to survive? This movie gives a reality check about the suburbs of town and people who are forced to live like that. 

The cast includes:

● Jesmark Scicluna as Jesmark, the fisherman, plays fisherman in the movie

● Michela Farrugia, like Denise, plays Jesmark's wife.

● David Scicluna

● Frida Cauchi

● Uday McLean

● Stephen Buhagiar


The World premiere of the film is scheduled at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival on January 29, 2021, in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition category. The film's US distribution rights were bought by Kino Lorber the next month, while the UK distribution rights were obtained by Peccadillo Pictures.


The movie has received an astounding response from 23 critics surveyed from Rotten tomatoes. They were asked to categorize the reviews as positive or negative. For a perfect score, we collected 23 positive votes and 0 negative votes. It earned an average rating of 7.7 out of 10 among the reviewers. It is rated 7.1 on the popular review website IMDb.

Director's notes

The best part about this venture is that it is a movie that savours a tinge of authenticity in it, As the cast of the film consists of non-actors and local fishermen. Traditions were preserved. 

As Camilleri was himself of Maltese descent, he has expressed his feelings in a beautiful way: 

Rather than a performance, it's more-its being

He has highlighted the essence of using localities for the lead roles. The interesting part is Camilleri had no prior Experience in fishing, and he actually had a pretty tough time shooting it as he often used to get seasick during long hours of shooting.

Wrapping up

It's very rare that you find non-actors as leads in a film. And that was too receiving 100% positive reviews. I'm sure there is some hidden talent on the shores of Malta.

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