An award-winning short film called Dar ir-Rummien (The Pomegranate House) was released on YouTube last night. Directed by Federico Chini, the film has been named a winner in the NBC PBS Short Film Contest, it also won the Best Production Design award and was nominated for Best Local Director at the Malta Short Film Festival.
It tells the story of a family-run Maltese guest house, and the tales of love that transpired in its history. The first half of the film is quite slow-moving, focusing on the relationship of the father and hotel owner, and his young, precocious and artistic daughter.
In a scene where father and daughter sit on their roof, the dialogue switches from existential, to super cheesy, to classic Maltese bluntness. When daughter asks what the meaning of life is, and why any of us exist, dad quite succinctly replies “Ma nafx”… which is pretty spot on as far as Maltese dad convos go.
He does go on to give a feeble explanation of everyone having a different destiny though. A real Maltese dad is more likely to say “mur saqsi l-ommok“.
The film reaches a turning point when the daughter decides to tell her father a secret she’s been carrying. In turn, he decides to tell her all about his first love. Cue: the flashback chapter.
Truth be told this second act is way more fun to watch than the first. It takes us back to the story of the dad as a young boy and his relationship with a English guest who comes to stay at Dar ir-Rummien.
A series of endearing and quicker-paced conversations ensue, and it really does feel like Malta’s version of the Grand Budapest hotel, complete with cute-yet-slightly-inappropriate elder women and young boy relationship.
The ending of the film takes on a more melancholy feel. We won’t give too much away, but it does leave a tiny lump in your throat if you’re partial to a conclusion that makes all ends meet.
All in all this innocent, well-meaning story of love is definitely worth 15 minutes of your time. If nothing else, you get to gawk at the beautiful setting that is Dar ir-Rummien and Malta itself.
Dar ir-Rummien was produced by 2 Doors Media, PBS, the Malta National Book Council, Manuel Xuereb & Federico Chini.