Solitude has no (skin) colour in Good Morning Aman
by Michela Greco
Forty-five-year-old Rome-born Teodoro and 18-year-old Somali-born Aman seem to have two very different journeys and destinies. Separated by skin colour, age and life experiences, they nonetheless cross paths one sleepless night on the roof of a building in the Esquilino area of Rome and share their solitude, in order to find the strength to face the world.
This is the story of Claudio Noce’s debut work, Good Morning Aman, the only Italian film in International Critics’ Week. It stars young Said Sabrie and Valerio Mastandrea, who fell in love with the project and decided to act as associate producer for Relief Srl., in collaboration with Dodo Fiori for Dna Cinematografica and Rai Cinema.
This is a dramatic, painful and intense journey, undertaken by the two protagonists in different ways and for different reasons: former boxer Teodoro, who retired many years ago, wants to atone for a past wrongdoing, while Aman, who is African "in appearance" but Roman to the core, wants to find his place in the world, torn between the desire to flee abroad or establish himself in the city where he grew up.
Noce films the two characters in a style that wavers between realism – with the camera at times so close to the characters that it shuts out the rest of the world – and the metaphysical – with long moments of suspense that leave space for the context and distressing emptiness around them.
Noce explained: "The film is a story of education in which two lost human souls are confronted with each other, searching for their own identity. It explores the bond of friendship and solitude between two Italians: one white, the other black. Teodoro embodies the boorish, dull and perhaps a little right-wing side of Romans, and the chance meeting with this 18-year-old Somali boy puts them deeply in contact with each other and themselves. They will both, albeit with different outcomes, find the strength to break free from their chains".
This is an intimate film, but it is also a story about immigration, an omnipresent theme at this year’s Venice Festival: "Yes, it’s a lot about immigration,” confirms Mastandrea, “but the film is above all about the failed integration of two people who don’t find their place, and the fact that an 18-year-old Somali and a 45-year-old Italian have the same motivations is a strong symbol and a clear message".
Good Morning Aman – to be released in theatres at the end of October by Cinecittà Luce – was more or less co-helmed by Mastandrea: not only was he involved in the production process, forsaking his usual fees, but he also closely followed the development of the story and character. The actor commented: "Any form of help was useful in bringing the film to completion and it was an honour for me to make my debut as a producer on Good Morning Aman. When it came to decision-making, Claudio always consulted me". Meanwhile, Noce revealed that he literally transformed the script, which originally centred on a 65-year-old man, to create a role tailor-made for Mastandrea.