Scamarcio plays an idealistic professor in Piccioni’s Il rosso e il blu
by Vittoria Scarpa
18/09/2012 - As the bell rings in a new year for Italian institutions, a new comedy is about to be released based in a Roman high school: Il rosso e il blu [trailer] by Giuseppe Piccioni. Unlike what you might expect within the current climate of a crumbling Italian public school system, the film points no fingers. Instead, it focuses on the relationship of teachers with former pupils, on expectations and disillusionments, and on intertwining destinies, all the while avoiding set answers and keeping up some hope.
There are, of course, some signs of things not going well. The head mistress brings in her own loo paper from home and teachers fight over chairs they waited months to receive. But at the heart of the film are human relationships and that delicate crossroad between adolescence and adulthood which schools become symbols of. “Not a political film,” says Picciono, “I did not want to say that schools are disgusting, but I wanted to tell the story of a normal school, a public one, that beyond its small defects, is something that should be defended.”
The screenplay, based on the book by the same name whose author is teacher, journalist and writer Marco Lodoli, throws together a number of characters who see school in a different light. Two in particular: a young, idealistic and stubborn teacher named Prezioso, played by Riccardo Scamarcio, who is diametrically opposed to a disenchanted, insolent, older teacher called Fiorito, exceptionally played by a dark humoured Roberto Herlitzka. The first thinks he could change the world, the second that young people understand absolutely nothing (something he puts in writing to his alumni along with parents’ signatures).
Completing the picture is the rigorous head mistress Giuliana (Margherita Buy), who is convinced that “when it comes to school, there is an inside and an outside, and we should only take care of what happens inside,” but is the first to take an interest in her students’ extracurricular activities. “I wanted to film in a simple way, without bravura, concentrating on the actors,” says Piccioni. The result is an honest, bittersweet comedy, giving an insight into school life, like many others have done before - exceptional only because of its normalcy.
(Translated from Italian)