"Seeing the Spirit is like wearing really cool sunglasses," according to the instructor of 13-year old Marta's (Yle Vianello) catechism class. Such observations introduce Marta to the religious climate in the small seaside Calabrian town to which she, her mother and older sister have just moved from Switzerland. Marta is sent to the local church to prepare for her Catholic confirmation and (hopefully) make some new friends. But the religion she finds there is mainly strange: the way it dominates people's lives is unlike anything she's ever experienced. Alice Rohrwacher's extraordinarily impressive debut feature chronicles Marta's private duel with the Church, carried out under the shadow of the physical changes coursing through her. Rohrwacher is not interested in pointing out heroes and villains, but instead in offering a perceptive look at how the once all-powerful Church has dealt with its waning influence. Official Selection: 49th New York Film Festival.