With A Repertoire Of Over 90 Films, Is This Malta's Most Prolific Director?
From acting and shooting to make-up and prop manufacturing, Elio Lombardi has done it all
If you've ever felt the urge to immerse yourself in a Maltese book or film, you know how tough it is to find a choice nearly half as vast as what you'd find when it comes to the English language. One Maltese man might've singlehandedly helped shift that.
Elio Lombardi is a pioneer Maltese filmmaker who literally makes his own films himself — from acting, direction, production, shooting, make-up and manufacturing of props. Lombardi is practically the father of Maltese films, having produced over 90 films in his lifetime.
If anything, Lombardi is a man truly dedicated to his passions. At 84 years old, Lombardi is still active, producing films and writing scripts.
Apart from making films, Lombardi has also written a large number of novels in Maltese — most of which are romances, a talent which he inherited from his late grandfather Emilio Lombardi.
Lombardi clearly is an underrated artist, and going through all of his movies would be impossible to do. So instead, we opted to mention the ones we like best. Sit back and relax — you will soon need to order your own copies of these Maltese classics.
1. Is-Saħta tal-Missier
This jewel is filled with people staring intently far off into a galaxy unknown to the viewer. Like most of Lombardi’s films, it centres around vice and Christian values, with a recurring theme of someone living a terrible life and later on repenting and converting into a better Christian who follows the word of God.
All the staring scenes alone makes this film worth watching with your family and friends. We can guarantee it will leave you all staring off into the very same galaxy as the actors.
2. Il-Madonna Taċ-Ċoqqa
The original Il-Madonna taċ-Ċoqqa was not written by Lombardi and has been produced many times over by a number of local directors. This shocking and controversial film is remade every couple of decades by a different director, with a few variations. However - and we do say this from the depths of our heart - our favourite version will forever remain that of Lombardi.
Il-Madonna taċ-Ċoqqa had left an impact on the island, especially considering the steamy scenes between a novice priest and a village girl.
Here’s a link to the whole movie; thank us later.
3. Il-Ħames Kmandament
We've already featured this film in our list of Maltese films to watch when you're high AF, but this one is just too good not to bring up again.
It tells the story of someone who is trying to blackmail a doctor into giving his sister an abortion.
Il-Ħames Kmandament will transport you to a whole new dimension when it comes to Maltese film-making. The acting will make you forget that you are watching a film, and you'll instead be convinced you've been painfully transported into a real-life story.
4. Il-Ħabs Ma Kienx Biżżejjed?
A young man who has fallen into a life of vice and sin because of his good-for-nothing friends has just come out of jail and is trying to rebuild his life. Tragically, he is not accepted back into society, and once he finds a job, his boss fires him.
This cautionary tale is sadly not found anywhere online. The lessons this film has to offer to us are invaluable and truly priceless — from storyline, to acting to the overall vibe, this one is truly a film you should not miss watching at all costs.
Le, Il-ħabs ma kienx biżżejjed wara dal-film.
5. Gidba Għall Bżonn
Do you remember that film Eddie Murphy was in where he plays like five different parts at the same time? This is exactly like that movie... but with Dominic Said.
This movie centres around a mythomaniac grandmother suffering from a severe case of Catholic guilt and the need to save her child’s marriage. The moral of the film is that you really should lie to people to stop them from getting separated (or divorced). It’s ok if your son-in-law is cheating on your daughter; just lie to her and convince her that he’s a good husband, that will do the trick and keep the family happy!
6. Ġorġ Preca, Il-Bniedem t'Alla
As you can already assume, this film is about the life of San Ġorġ Preca.
Again, the Christian theme here is literally everywhere. The film starts from the birth of Ġorġ and goes on right up to his death (and a little bit after that). This film is great to watch if you can tolerate watching something where the children are miles better at acting than the professional adult actors.
The whole thing is available online, so watch away.
Another film that's made it to a separate Lovin Malta list (Lombardi sure knows how to accidentally make stoner films).
The overly dramatic acting and dialogue of L-Imxajtan will really make you feel blessed for having the time to watch it and appreciate the talent that our tiny island hones.
8. Jeffrey il-Misterjuż
Do you like watching ghost film which are scary, but also manage to give you a heartwarming lesson? If yes, Jeffrey is the right film for you.
This is the story of an overly friendly Maltese goth/rocker (translation: badly dressed) ghost who tries to help people in need but ends up creeping them out. Of course, Jeffrey is only helping people because he needs to get a favour in return. Can you guess what it is? Probably not. But please watch this film — It's the epitome of "horror".