Portrait of a family in 70s Naples
by Camillo de Marco
- Naples and its diversity in the 1970s. An accomplished comedy for the debut film by a writer delving back into his memories.
"This is the story about a superhero, about a family and about a boy with glasses. This is a story about love". With this documentary-style voice-over begins Kryptonite! [+see also:
interview: Ivan Cotroneo
film profile], debut film (in Competition at the 2011 Rome Film Festival) by 43 year-old Ivan Cotroneo, known above all for being the man behind the successful TV series Tutti pazzi per amore and for having contributed to the screenplay of Loose Cannons [+see also:
film profile] by Ferzan Ozpetek, for which he received a Golden Globe. With a degree in screenwriting from the Centro Sperimentale, Cotroneo has translated Hanif Kureishi and Michael Cunningam and has published 4 novels, one of which is "La kryptonite nella borsa", which he based the film on.
It is a story about love but above all a coming-of-age story which fishes out memories from a Naples experienced as a child. Kryptonite! is in fact set in 1973, when Naples was certainly not rich but was experiencing a wind of change in social and sexual customs, and was getting a taste for new fashions and behavioural codes.
Peppino (Luigi Catani) is 9 years old, wears big glasses for short-sightedness and when he plays football his friends make him act as goalpost. His mum Rosaria (Valeria Golino) is so sweet and loves him, as does his dad Antonio (Luca Zingaretti), shame that he cheats on his mum with the shop girl from his shop in Portici. And then there is the austere granddad, the rigorous grandma and those two young uncle and aunt, Salvatore and Titina (Libero De Rienzo and Cristiana Capotondi), in whose care he is left when his mum finds out about her husband’s affair and she "falls ill" with melancholy. Young aunt and uncle who reveal to him an unimaginable world of freedom and music. But strangest of all is cousin Gennaro, who thinks he’s superman (hence the title) and he’s so different that one day he dies under a tram.
Peppino’s imagination continues to see and to talk to this friend with superpowers, who stays by his side and gives strange speeches about the need to live out one’s own otherness and about the beauty of being unique.
With the wonderful photography of Luca Bigazzi, accurate editing from Giogiò Franchini and an obsessive attention to the historical reconstruction of environments, objects and clothes, Kryptonite! is a journey into the past which gives us an idea of how much we have changed (for the worse), how it was possible to dream of a better life by facing up to life’s difficulties with good spirits. Dances in the square to the rhythm of "Zorba's Dance", LSD-fuelled basement parties and women’s freedom groups, Cotroneo presents the story of a family without making it into sociology, choosing to stay on the surface of a pop depiction in order to entertain the viewer.
Kryptonite! is produced by Indigo Film (This Must Be the Place [+see also:
interview: Paolo Sorrentino
film profile]) in collaboration with Rai Cinema and with the contribution of MiBAC –Directorate-General for Cinema.
(Translated from Italian)