A sci-fi, dramatic and dystopian film, a terrible tale about the destruction of the environment which, with the help of movement, rhythms and ever-increasing emotions, includes the conscience of the viewer: from environment to politics, from social values to feelings.
This is Mondoken (screened last year at the Venice Film Festival, in the International Critics’ Week section), the first feature film Alessandro Selialready happened in 2008 with David de Donatello Short term an eggabout domestic violence, but which has always been denied the possibility of its first appearance, which made him turn to episodes of youth television series, such as red braceletsAnd jams And Knights of Castelcorvo(Debuting late because he has no political friends? Can! I don’t see any other explanation!).
Before we go any further, thanks to the enlightened director and producer Matthew Rover who – by foresight remembering the productive acumen of the great Franco Cristaldi – saw in Celli a director he could finally trust with his production company green landthus proves again (after Leonardo D’AgostiniWith the sampleAnd Simon GodanoWith Cross and joy And Marilyn has black eyesAnd Sydney Sibelia With The amazing history of the island of roses) his prolific interest in alternative propositions, and a real break with the many schemes that still parody Italian cinema (Greenland also opened in January 2021 flexibleA section dedicated exclusively to cinema, directed by women).
And we come to Mondoken. I’d say it’s a dystopian film that presents us with a wandering and aggressive humanity in a desperate search for power after the closure of Ilva, Europe’s largest steelworks but also the most polluting. Once again, Italian cinema presents us with a disorganized and disorganized world, like modern works Post apocalyptic children’s land from Claudio Copellini And I from Nicolo Omanetti.
Set in the not-too-distant future, the movie Taranto is a ghost town surrounded by barbed wire and no one dares to enter, not even the police. While Taranto Nuova lives in the filler, theThe ugly old townspeople are trying to survive after the “Great Evacuation” made necessary not only by closing the steel plant but also, above all, by failing to restore the polluted land. Here the social system is organized into groups and factions, you can be ants (an offensive gang headed by the charismatic Testacalda (Alessandro Borghi), orphans (irregular children, between outdoor gymnastics and child labor), or, at most, policemen. The poorest are still fighting to survive, while the ant gang competes for land with another gang (Africans, though a little in the movie). Two thirteen-year-old orphans, who grew up together, dream of joining that gang: Petro (Dennis Protopaba), named Mondocane because he passed by fire, in the gang admission test, an animli shop of the same name, imposes Christian (Giuliano Soprano) to the group that, however, doesn’t want him and laughs at him nicknames him Pisciasotto because during epileptic fits he can’t hold back his urine. friendship with an orphanLudovica Nasti), who worked in a ruined pet store and the rivalry between the two boys would change everything, jeopardizing friendship and everything they believe in. Or maybe nothing will change. Peter, who initially appeared to be the most fragile and sensitive, will be to make it clear what it means to be a leader.
Alessandro Celli and Co-Writer Antonio Loti They gradually weave a canvas that, thanks to the ever-changing colors of the soul, envelops the viewer in a whirlpool of reflective feelings, not placed there just to tickle our approval. The subtlety and sweetness, deeply agonizing, of a betrayed and exploited teen alternating with a shadowy criminal target (can she even hurt for good?): the film wastes no time and tempo with details about how the world and the boys got to this point and thus leads us to think about the reasons (it has Italy has been devastated by an ecological, social, and political catastrophe now that cannot be cured, that’s enough) but it offers only a metaphorical present for the spectator to contemplate and find. The right pieces to give a sense and perspective to their lives and ours.
And that the present world is nothing but a mirror of latent and dangerous contradictions lies in the name of the group of young criminals: ants, that is, hardworking, efficient, productive, stubborn, supportive and crazy animals that oppose themselves to politicians who have been in favor for many years talking about solving the problem of Ilva and restoring the region but they do nothing! Corrupt power is well interpreted metaphorically hothead–Alessandro BorghiIt is an opportunity for young people, but at the same time there is no problem in spoiling their purity.
Mondoken It is not only a film about the value of friendship in an unfair world, about the importance of taking charge of the environment in which we live and understanding personal values, but it is also an exciting social and political metaphor for our times.
Film, Celli Film, looks in harmony with the different domestic cinematography (from Gomorrah to mad childrento enough land) that in recent years, the desire to remove the legacy of comedy from behind, echoes other dystopian historical films: from Oliver Twist to– Mad Max Beyond ThunderballAnd from Blade Runner towater world).
Is everything working? Almost everything (a few short hops in assembly), but in general it is undoubtedly a qualitatively captivating product.
When did your passion for cinema arise in you and how did you come to Mondoken?
“I was born as a child, with my Canadian father who, in order to improve my English, took me to see films in their native language at the Pascino Cinema in Rome. We went there almost every day. I immediately loved being able to tell stories, as in films.I studied economics but then I attended London Film School and that was a very important moment in my life because there I realized that I wanted cinema to be an important part of my life.The process took a long time, until producer Matteo Roveri, who had been trying for some time to revolutionize the “The canons of Italian cinema, especially those related to debut, giving space to new creative themes, help me in his company in Greenland. Matteo is brave, well-groomed and always open to the news.”
And we come to the movie, with a lot of content and really captivating. Testacalda – Alessandro Borghi talking to the boys from his group, ants, he says, that it was curiosity that saved him when he was living in an orphanage: has this ever happened to you? Is Testacalda also meant to be a message to today’s youth, who are becoming increasingly ‘mobile dependent’?
“Testacalda is a complex character, which has many aspects: he is a character A self-made man. He clearly represents evil in this story, but not in one way. It was interesting to “build” this character contrasting with Porgy, who alternates between being what the boys want them to be, a father figure who helps them survive, yet also being their manipulator who controls them and uses his culture to keep the kids at a distance. . I used the word Curiosity Because it best transports you into culture and can give you the bare minimum that can serve you in a world so ignorant that you forget what a cross is (This is what the two young men, Pietro and Christian, fish underwater at the beginning of the movie, editor). I simply wanted to make it clear that you live in a place that has no way of giving you information, or teaching you something, even more normal It can make you understand what the people around you may or may not believe. The fact that the two boys carry the cross – they both do not know its meaning – in the group, and the other young men do not know what it is, deliberately lends itself to a free interpretation, even in some respects Catholic because there is in fact the redemption of one and the condemnation of the other. Word Curiosity He also wanted it to be a call to young people – not outreach, for heaven’s sake – not locking themselves in their world because adolescence is a period of life that passes quickly, especially in a world of desperation, and if you don’t have dreams and curiosity the desire to evolve, if we don’t realize that we’re not all the same , we lose our future train. But in all of this, there is a very important element of betrayal.”
Indeed, the film draws attention to the importance of personal values, such as, for example, friendship: how do you define them?
“It’s the most enduring form of love ever. And it’s something that matters to all of us, it’s so universal: we all have very dear, exceptional friends who might have changed our lives in some way. It’s an emotion, a very strong value and we’ve presented it in the movie as a message to say that if the friendship ends, If the desire to associate with others, society too will gradually come to an end.”
Mundukin shows us a world of young people desperate for their own place, for the reason they exist, a theme that is also present in many of your film or television works: what are the strengths but also the difficulties of working with young actors?
“The beauty, the value of the work is that many young people are not actors, they are not technically prepared, and therefore have a great spontaneity, a great desire to do it, and above all they are TRUE In their emotions: a very important element of the film. By working with them you always have an exchange, and the cost advantages are worth it.”
In the film, the various details of the children’s world, and the post-apocalyptic world of Taranto are not technically explained, but only hinted at: why such a choice?
“It’s a complicated world for me and Antonio Lotti, who wrote the script with me, There was no time To say, at the risk of making meatloaf, and because in reality many things are often understood even by little signs: a spectator told me, for example, that without being shown in the film, it is understandable that the scar on Porgy’s head is not from an armed confrontation but because Surgery. There is a world that has clearly changed, but there was no desire to provide too many details with possibly not having teenagers at the center of the story.”
Will there be a sequel?
Of course, if the conditions were created, why not? I will be ready. However, I am now thinking more than anything about trying a different story, perhaps not set in the future. Always with Mathieu Rovere, with a film perhaps presenting a novelty of the same formula.”
With so many new movie producers (from Netflix to Amazon Prime, etc.), cinema culture is being exchanged, the pandemic has exacerbated this phenomenon, but the room remains, in my opinion, very important, also as a social networking tool., Direct sharing of emotions: What do you think of the task of operators in the world of cinema to return to the preference for the need for films in theaters?
“I agree. I think the operators in the cinema world have to do something to get movies back in theaters. For the sake of cinema we have to find a solution.”
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