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Ivan Cotroneo • Director

Portrait of a family with kryptonite


- "Kryptonite! is my childhood outlook on the 70s in Naples", explains the director Ivan Cotroneo

Ivan Cotroneo • Director

"Kryptonite! [+see also:
film review
making of
interview: Ivan Cotroneo
film profile
is my childhood outlook on the 70s in Naples", explains the director Ivan Cotroneo. Years in which "there was no wealth, there were no status symbols and class differences, and there was joy, there was greater freedom..."
Produced by Indigo Film in collaboration with Rai Cinema, the film has been released on November 4 in 130 copies with Lucky Red, after having been selected in Competition at the Rome International Film Festival.

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Cineuropa: How much of the book and the film is autobiographical?
Ivan Cotroneo: "The world of the main character Peppino is very close to the one I experienced, bizarre, fascinating and full of mysteries. I grew up with a young aunt and uncle and they lived borderline adventures...I learnt that in life you’re never alone, whether for the good or for the bad. There was always someone behind the door to help you".

The city and the historical period are also main features of the film.
"I wanted to talk about – without any nostalgia or pop drifts - that era in which there was a greater ability for being indignant, also from the female world. A time in which women rebelled against being considered only through aesthetic canons. It’s a human comedy in which one laughs, is moved, and sad things happen but always told with an ironic touch. I found a balance between the Naples as told by the papers and the Naples of my childhood memories. A Naples where people face life with irony".

Particular attention is paid to the female dimension.
"Other than a coming-of-age story I wanted it to be a reflection on three generations of women, with different experiences of love.
I wrote the film together with two screenwriters, Monica Rametta and Ludovica Rampoldi, and one of our aims was to describe credible and affectionate female characters, imagining the family traps they might fall into".

How did you go from writing to directing?
"After the producers, Francesca Cima and Nicola Giuliano bought the rights for the book, we started working together on the possibility of a film adaptation. I was constantly repeating what it was I would expect from a hypothetical director and they said to me: and why don’t you direct it?"

The cousin, Gennaro/Superman, who still doesn’t find a place in that happy society, makes a symbolic speech to Peppino on the importance of accepting oneself and to live out one’s own otherness. It seems to be an important element in the film.
"It is in him, as Peppino’s access to the fantastical, that the sense of the film is entrusted. It was important that the film finish with this speech, we liked it and were scared of it at the same time because it is last thing left in the film. Gennaro talks about the importance but also the effort of being special. He tells this to a child who doesn’t want to be special. The search for happiness is not easy, it is found through pain, shattered dreams, regrets. When the main character declares himself ready, he is conscious of this difficulty".

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