Darker Than Midnight: transgender, young and escaping
by Camillo de Marco
- CANNES 2014: A dramatic coming-of-age story set in Sicily in a film that is openly inspired by the adolescents of Truffaut and Gus Van Sant
The first Italian film screened at the Cannes Film Festival during Critics’ Week, Darker Than Midnight [+see also:
film profile] has come out at the same time in Italian movie theatres, distributed by the Luce Cinecittà Institute. The debut by Sicilian Sebastiano Riso was received relatively coldly by the press during a screening Cineuropa took part in. The painful story of a teenage coming of age slightly slipped out of the hands of the passionate and capable director, who was unable to avoid certain clichés he should have.
The film still highlights the presence of the 16-year-old star Davide Capone, in his first performance, who with self-awareness and naturalness plays Davide, a boy who is feeling the push to be a girl and is trying to escape a reality where his identity is shunned as well as (hypocritically) sexualised.
The story, written by the director with Stefano Grasso and Andrea Cedrola, is based on the real story of a Sicilian transgender boy, among the founders of the extremely famous Roman Muccassassina event. The film follows his first steps, before he flees to Rome to be an artist.
Unstoppably attracted by the trans world, which comes alive in the public gardens of his city, Davide escapes from home and is affectionately welcomed by this community of outsiders, made up of appropriated names (Meriliv Morlov, Wonder Woman, La Rettore), who live off of prostitution and robbing supermarkets. Davide has the gift of a beautiful voice. Soon enough, he is approached by the “man in white” (Pippo De Bono), a rich, unscrupulous man who wants to get his prostitution career going.
Flashbacks reveal a violent father (Vincenzo Amato) and a sweet mother (Micaela Ramazzotti), who is symbolically blind and passive. There is a necessity for the boy to make radical choices.
The director seems however saturated with maestros he likes to cite: Rossellini in Germany Year Zero, Truffaut and Antoine Doinel, Tarkovskij, Gus Van Sant from My Own Private Idaho and Elephant.
(Translated from Italian)