Slam – Tutto per una ragazza: Love, paternity and skateboards
by Vittoria Scarpa
- Andrea Molaioli’s new film, which had its premiere at the Turin Film Festival, tells the story of a teenager struggling to get to grips with an unexpected pregnancy, based on a book by Nick Hornby
Andrea Molaioli’s new film Slam - Tutto per una ragazza [+see also:
film profile] opens on a skateboard. Based on the book of the same name of 2008 by Nick Hornby, the third feature film by the director of The Girl by the Lake [+see also:
film profile] and The Jewel [+see also:
film profile] makes one thing clear from the get-go: its protagonist is a passionate skater, and the audience enters the film with him, rolling along on the tarmac, weaving between cars and dodging passers-by. And even though here we’re not in London, where the English writer’s book is based, but in Rome (with skaters darting around the Colosseum), the philosophy is the same: we fall, hurt ourselves and then get back up, in skateboarding as in life.
Testing young Samuele (Ludovico Tersigni) is the reality that he is to become a father at 16. It’s somewhat of a family curse it seems: his peculiar mother (Jasmine Trinca) is just 32 years-old, and has no qualms about admitting – albeit lovingly – that becoming a mother at such a young age ruined her life. The same view is taken by Samuele’s father, played by a sincere, rude and hilarious Luca Marinelli. Samuele’s love for beautiful Alice (Barbara Ramella) has almost faded (all his energy going into his skateboarding), when she reveals she’s pregnant. The option of abortion put forward by Alice’s severe and bourgeois parents is rejected by the young girl, who wants everything in life, except to become a lawyer like her father. And so Samuele hurtles towards his destiny, which is practically set in stone.
The young protagonist of Slam - Tutto per una ragazza does nothing exceptional, and this is perhaps where the strength of the character lies. He doesn’t shy away from his responsibilities, but he doesn’t prove that he can be more mature either. He’s unprepared, probably confused, just as any boy his age would be. It is thanks to this, in spite of a few leaps into the future in which Samuele envisages himself as a father – sort of dreamlike flashforwards in which his son is called Ufo, giving the story a surreal touch – that the film is overall very realistic, human, and actually rather cynical. Seeking refuge in the words of his guru Tony Hawk (the greatest skater in the world who, in his biography which Samuele reads a few pages of every evening, reveals a personal story very similar to Samuele’s), the boy shows himself for what he is: young, devoted to his idols, and looking for guidance. A subject that is broached with affection and irony in a simply story that is all in all rather normal whilst at the same time being rather exceptional.
Produced by Indigo Film with Rai Cinema, Slam - Tutto per una ragazza is slated for release in Italian theatres on 23 March, under the distribution of Universal. The film had its premiere at the 34th Turin Film Festival (18-26 November 2016).
(Translated from Italian)