Unless you’ve been sleeping under a (limestone) rock for the last few weeks, you know that something very Maltese has been garnering rave reviews and selling out screenings in New York City – and no, it’s not Pete Buttigieg.
“The messages are coming in practically every day,” Abigail Mallia of Take2 Productions and Co-Producer of Limestone Cowboy told Lovin Malta.
Currently in America promoting the film, the entire team has been taken aback by just how strongly some people have been reacting to the Maltese production.
“One day I was watching it with some friends and when the lights came on, a middle-aged, tough-looking man just sat there staring with tears streaming down his face,” she recounted.
“We looked at each other for a moment… he didn’t know that I had anything to do with the film. Then he just wiped his tears and quietly walked out. That moment stays with me – the film has moved people on so many levels, and it is what gives me most satisfaction,” she said.
Limestone Cowboy is a film about a very Maltese thing: a slightly delusional but seemingly well-intentioned man decides to run for politics, becomes an overnight star, only to crash and burn after he realises no one is actually going to vote for him.
Indeed, the producers of Limestone Cowboy have cited an infamous photo of a dejected Żaren tal-Ajkla as being the inspiration for the film
The Maltese team is out there doing the film festival rounds, and at one recent festival – the Panorama Film Festival in New York – it was featured as one of the five highlights of the festival.
Moreover, Limestone Cowboy was described as: “a rarity: a work that dares not judge a character that might be reviled or patronised by audiences.”
The Clyde Fitch Report, an arts review website, described the film as follows:
“Inspired by the strange career of Maltese politician Nazzareno Bonnici, who in 2013 ran as an independent candidate in the general elections, earning a total of 47 votes, director Abigail Mallia studies the phenomenon of outliers who think they have enough appeal to steer their countries in different directions. Paul Portelli stars as Karist, a man obsessed with American cowboy iconography who decides to run for office to the displeasure of his son, John (Davide Tucci), who believes he will only make a fool of himself. Mallia’s compassion for Karist makes Limestone Cowboy a rarity: a work that dares not judge a character that might be reviled or patronised by audiences.”