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When tradition meets modernity – Luca

Last eighteenth of June welcomed the release (alas not in theaters) of the brand-new Disney-Pixar movie, set in the picturesque Ligurian Riviera, Luca. The film, directed by the Italian Enrico Casarosa, stood out immediately for its light tone, although often permeated by a nostalgic veil, establishing itself as an interesting tribute to tradition, which, however, turns its attention to our current situation.

Luca immediately lowers the spectator into a fictional reality, where nice underwater creatures seem to coexist, certainly not in harmony, with the inhabitants of the mainland, considered substantially as a threat. It will be just the limit imposed by the family to visit the world on the surface and the fortuitous discovery of some objects for us common use - a turntable, a playing card - to push the protagonist of the film, Luca Paguro, outside of what until then he had considered as his natural habitat. Inspired by Alberto, another underwater creature much more accustomed to surface travel, Luca will discover that once he rests his feet on the ground and freed from the water, he is able to assume human form.

Casarosa thus proposes a tribute to Italian tradition, which recognizes in the Vespa myth and its motto "Vespa is freedom" a hymn to carelessness, recalling the proverbial summer that everyone, of all ages, have at least once lived. Moreover, guided by the warning "Silenzio Bruno", the two friends delight in a succession of adventures in the name of lightness, avoiding to give rise to that voice, always present in each of us mind, which would like to curb at all costs our desires and our energies, giving way to fear. Always observing this mantra, Luca and Alberto will make the acquaintance of Giulia, a young Ligurian girl with whom they will establish a strong bond, but also of her father Massimo, an expert fish-hunter and aspiring marine "monsters" killer, to culminate in the figure of Hercules, typical local bullet of probably high extraction.

The two protagonists, therefore, will embark on a rather complex challenge, trying to win together with Giulia the "Portorosso Cup" and the prize money put up for those who were to successfully complete the triathlon, with the ultimate goal of buying a real Vespa and traveling far and wide in the world on the surface. What will prove even more difficult; however, will be to keep secret their identity as marine creatures.

The movie, therefore, is placed in several respects in an extremely fortuitous moment in the international cinematographic scene, as well as the socio-cultural one: not only, in fact, it brilliantly addresses the issue of fear directed towards the different and what is not known to the end, but it manages to confirm itself as an expression of an Italian global revival. The world was very happy to welcome recently the victory of our “Maneskin” at the Eurovision Song Contest, leaving Italians almost amazed by the warmth that the foreign audience has turned towards the band, and Italy was also struck by the initially unexpected victory of our “Azzurri” in the European Championship and the silver medal won on the tennis court by the Italian Berrettini. In short, Luca coherently fits into a context of revival not only of the country, but especially of the Italian tradition approached in a credible and wise way to the topical issues previously mentioned.

In short, a month after its publication on Disney+, Luca certainly proves to be a film not by the broad pretensions and that probably does not reach the heights touched by other animated masterpieces, but that, on the other hand, does not even aspire to such purposes. The director instead decides to pay particular attention to the scenario of an Italian summer - which will probably give rise nostalgically even more emotions in the adult audience than in children - in which intersect themes such as friendship, diversity and the freedom to fully express one’s self, finding a meeting point not impossible between the much loved tradition and our contemporaneity.

Articolo a cura di: Antonino Palumbo

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