“The return party”. If the gaze of a child can recreate an entire world


By John

It’s all there, in that look. The gaze of the child, enchanted, which creates and transfigures the world. We find it again, from the pages of the book to the film poster. And in the words of the author: «The celebration of return» by Carmine Abatethe Calabrian writer from Carfizzi who won the Campiello prize, became a film, directed by Lorenzo Adorisio, Roman with a Calabrian father, in his first feature film (the medium-length film «Chora» from 2004 was highly awarded and appreciated), which will be released in cinemas on Monday. But the absolute preview will be on Sunday in Cosenza, at 4pm, at the San Nicola cinema, with the writer, the actors, also Calabrian, and the Calabria Film Commission which supported the production.

The screenplay is by Rosella Gualtiero, Annalisa Ruoppolo and Manuela Tovoand the cast includes almost all Calabrian actors: Alessio Praticò, Carlo Gallo, Anna Maria De Luca, Annalisa Insardà, Federica Sottile and for the first time on the screen little Daniele Procopio, in the role of the protagonist Marco. «This is a book about the very strong relationship between a father and a son – Carmine Abate tells me, his voice full of emotion – but at the same time it is a novel, and also a film, precisely about the happiness of childhood, about that look of a child, which was me, who sees things as if he were recreating them at the moment he is observing them. There is this enchanted look of the child on the whole story.”
Never lose the enchantment, the author tells us, moreover, in every novel: his twelfth, “A happy country” (Mondadori), has just been released, more than 30 years after the first (it was 1991). And the emotion is always the same, intense and auroral. Perhaps one of the keys to the soul and imagination of the narrator Abate. «I’m experiencing this wait, the wait for the preview, with the same emotion with which I awaited the release of my first novel, “The Round Ball”. An incredible thing. I’m not worried about what the movie will be like, I’m just excited. I saw the filming in my town and in Cirotano, in the Crotone area, and where they shot the film, last year in May, and therefore I saw several scenes, and then a great guarantee is the director, Lorenzo Adorisio, who is yes his first film but he is an established and very good director of photography: this film will show all the wild beauty of our land.”

And there is his hand in the film too: «I read the script, and I had the task of reviewing the dialogues, because there are also some Arbëresh phrases, a bit like in my books, some dialect words. So I know what there is in the book and it seems to me that it is very respected, then it is clear that this wonderful and strong land, full of flavours, can be effectively captured with a single shot, for those who see the film in the north or in the abroad”.
Although the beauty of Abate’s novels is also in the power of the linguistic mix and style, his is also a way of “writing in images”. «I write through images – he says –, or rather I always start from an image, in the case of the Homecoming Festival it is a very strong image. And the whole book is there, in the first image: the fire, the sparks that “enveloped us, looked like swarms of crackling bees, then they fell silent and went out, and fell on our hair, on our clothes like a snowstorm. My father said he had never seen a fire like this. It seems to have been made on purpose to slap the nastiest memories into us and stick them in in a flash.” In this sentence there are the father and son in front of the Christmas fire, their secret, even their language, and they are the two protagonists, their relationship and everything else.”

Obviously, there will be another temporal scan, over a single year: «There are all the Calabrian seasons, beautiful», repeats Abate, happy with this new achievement: «Seeing the images of my narratives in a film is an experience for I am absolutely new, at 69 years old, and I hope that “A happy country” also becomes a film: it would bring the incredible story of ERAVAV to the national spotlight.”
The film, distributed by Videa, was shot in Calabria in the locations of Cirò, Melissa, Carfizzi, Crucoli and Verzinois an Italian-French co-production, and is made by Alba Produzioni for Italy, Gorilla Group and Leon Film for France, in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture, Fondazione Calabria Film Commission, Lazio International and with the patronage of the Municipalities of Carfizzi and Cirò.