“The return party” in Calabria: the preview of Adorisio’s film based on the novel by Carmine Abate in Cosenza

Photo of author

By John

It’s a show within a show to see a full cinema hall. It happened Sunday in Cosenza, at the San Nicola cinema. The preview screening of the film «The Return Party» it attracted the public for special occasions. Director of photography for cinema, fiction (The Young Montalbano, Imma Tataranni) and advertising, Lorenzo Adorisio tries his hand at directing a feature film for the first time. And he chooses a theme which, due to similar personal events, affects him closely, exactly as happened to Carmine Abate, author of the novel from which “The Return Party” is based, Calabrian writer from Carfizzi, Campiello prize winner, much loved by readers, of which the twelfth novel, «A happy country» (Mondadori), has just been released. «It was a great emotion to see my novel transposed onto the big screen» says Abate, present at San Nicola and visibly moved.

The delicate and discreet autobiographical touch permeates the film with a refined authenticity as happened to the intense pages of the book. And the experience of the writer and the filmmaker come together admirably.
On stage, Abate talks about himself a little: «The film and the novel have a common matrix – he underlines – that of narrating this Calabria of ours, a place from which we emigrate and to which we return in a constant flow of return that knows no stopping. The deep roots, the sense of belonging. A bond that cannot be broken. A suspended condition that carries a load of lives, pain, hopes. A journey studded with torment and always wavering between departures and rests.” The audience applauds enthusiastically.

Alongside him is the excellent cast, all Calabrian: Carlo Gallo, Anna Maria De Luca, Annalisa Insardà, Federica Sottilea student graduated from the Acting School of Calabria, the very young Fortunato Staglianòenrolled in the SRC-Lab, the little one on the screen for the first time Daniele Procopiowho plays Marco, the boy protagonist, and Alessio Praticòin the role of Tullio.

Once again the host, the precious Pino Citrigno, passionate supporter of the Seventh Art. And the support and presence of the commissioner of the Calabria Film commission, Anton Giulio Grande, could not be missing. His work and that of the entire Foundation, at the service of Calabria and Cinema – in the wake of Citrigno during his presidency, which gave a new impetus to the relationship between cinema and Calabria – is undoubtedly leaving its mark. «We are happy to have supported this film – commented the extraordinary commissioner – because we strongly believe in the intersection between quality writing, cinematographic aesthetics and promotion of places, understood as characterized locations that Calabria can offer to those who want to film». Furthermore, he did not fail to emphasize the international nature of the Italian-French production, an element that will give great visibility to Calabria even beyond the borders.

Then it’s the film’s turn. The painful epic of those who leave out of necessity has a paradoxical and cruel destiny. Because it goes beyond the success or failure of his migratory mission. And he carries with him the bitter baggage of separation. From family, from loved ones, from the land of origin, a small village from one’s childhood and adolescence. Rich in events, the plot flows wonderfully, without pauses, without empty jokes. There are many themes that intersect around emigration and find a common matrix in Marco’s gaze, the 11 year old boy who sees his father, Tullio, leave for work reasons, and he stays with his grandmother, mother and older sister, and is hit by the urgent need to grow up quickly, to replace the male paternal figure . In the midst of human events, the wild and uncontaminated nature of the Calabrian landscapes stands out: the film was shot between Cirò Superiore, Carlizzi and Melissa. An ancestral nature, silent but present, which contributes significantly to the pathos of the story directed by a very inspired Lorenzo Adorisio. We talked about it with him.

Can we say that “The Return Party” is a coming-of-age story?
«Absolutely yes, of a 10-11 year old boy who is forced to spend most of the year alone in this small Calabrian town and suffers greatly from missing his father. And through this lack he develops an interest in the outside world. And above all he is a boy who listens and absorbs a lot from the world of adults, so much so that in the film the protagonist speaks very little but listens and spies a lot on what happens in the family and in the world around him.”

How much of the Calabria you knew as a teenager is there in your film?
«There’s a lot. There is the charm of a land that has so much ancient culture and which has still remained wild. It is a place that has always fascinated me since I was little. I went to a house that my father had and I was fascinated by a world foreign to me, by all those old ladies looking out from the balconies, dressed in black. It always struck me a lot, it was a world foreign to me coming from Rome. Repelling and fascinating at the same time. This was the magnet that brought me to Calabria.”

When we talk about Calabria, there is always the risk of being sucked into clichés… have you paid attention to this aspect?
“Absolutely no. It’s a film that doesn’t tell. It’s not a comedy, it’s not a thriller. It’s about the feelings of a family. It is therefore very far from the clichés… My goal was to tell a universal fairy tale. I exploited Calabria for its charm, for my memories.”

The film has an underlying naturalistic message, a return to nature. The photography of uncontaminated landscapes suggests more reflective and contemplative rhythms of life…
«It’s absolutely true! Today there is a lot of talk about meditation and Calabria is a wonderful place to meditate. Where you can recover your energy. It’s the perfect place to reflect on yourself, I don’t know any better.”