The tale of a father and a son: the actor from Reggio Emilia speaks, Alessio Praticò, one of the protagonists of the film “The Return Party”

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By John

A coming-of-age story that narrates the phenomenon of emigration and the numerous psychological and social implications, including the father-son relationship, «The return party», debut in the feature film by Lorenzo Adorisio, in theaters for Videa, and adaptation of the novel of the same name by Carmine Abate, Campiello-winning writer of Carfizzi, tells the story of the premature growth of Marco (newcomer Daniele Procopio), a twelve-year-old in the 1960s, who lives in an unspecified Arbëreshë town immersed in the Calabrian countryside. The protagonist is the son of Tullio, who emigrated to Paris to guarantee a future for him and his sister Elisa (Federica Sottile).

The actor from Reggio Alessio Praticò plays Tullio, recently seen on TV in the Sky Original series «Un ‘estate fa», in the role of Davide Gori, Inspector Zancan’s right-hand man, and as thoughtful and kind as the inspector is brusque and gruff. «Tullio carries within him the deep pain of the disappearance of his great love – he tells us – and suffers the sacrifice of having to abandon his native place and his loved ones to help them financially. I tried to tell it by showing the discomfort of constantly leaving and returning, and his frustration as a father who cannot fully carry out his role. With him we talk about all those who, at any latitude, have been forced to leave places and loved ones. Common is the sense of abandonment, of memory, the constant thought linked to the theme of roots, because the place where you are born inculcates in you as a child those feelings that you carry within you as an adult. In this sense it is a universal story.”

The story is told from the point of view of the now adult boy. Does this give added value to the story?
«It probably makes the narrative take on the tones of a fairy tale, of enchantment compared to what you go to see, because you observe the facts through the dreamy and enchanted eyes of the boy who tells the story of the past: therefore with the feelings of someone who relives a memory, in this case linked to the father. Which becomes the thorn in his side, due to the pain of having to suffer abandonment by him; a circumstance that also makes the parent suffer. In this sense they both experience the same unexpressed feelings. Necessity silences them, and Marco will have to grow up quickly, to fill the lack of the father figure that he feels strongly about, also because he spends his days in those extraordinary places that offer a Calabria that is different from the classic landscape story that is often told in the cinema” .

A harsh and wild Calabria, taken between Cirò, Melissa, Carfizzi, Crucoli and Verzino. Could it be a new set in which to set other stories not related to the South?
“I think so. In the film we talked about places that do not concern the classic marine part of Calabria, but that linked to the mountains, and above all to the villages of those years, which had their own dignity and managed to integrate with the landscape context, before illegal building came to destroy the balance between inhabited centers and the surrounding nature. In this case, also through the work of the scenography and costumes we managed to bring a different, forgotten world back to life.”

The film adapts the story of the book while maintaining a dry style, and still managing to touch the viewer’s emotions. What does this mean for your work as actors?
«The most difficult thing to interpret is the simplicity and beauty that characterize the film. The events must be narrated in this way, trying to maintain a thread of tension together with sobriety, to help the spectator to be active from beginning to end. So don’t give too many answers and force him to follow the entire story. This is what cinema should always do: tell with images, looks, reactions; much more incisive elements than a joke or an explanation given through words”.

Made by Alba Produzioni, Gorilla Group and Leon Film, with the contribution of the Ministry of Culture and the Calabria Film Commission Foundation, «The Return Party» also features Anna Maria De Luca, Annalisa Insardà and Carlo Gallo in the cast.