“My children were victims of bullying.”
“I wanted to make a film that talks to kids by kids with three different stories; of Blue, Antonio and Lorenzo, victims of bullying in three different ways,” said Ivan Controneo, the writer and director of the upcoming Un Bacio (A Kiss).
The film, which wrapped up filming in June and is now in the editing stage is based on the YA novel by Cotroneo, also called Un Bacio. Cotroneo told me that it’s the same story as in the book with more detail.
Filmed entirely in Undine, the film is more than a challenge. “I wanted to take a risk,” explained Cotroneo, “to talk to young people because often it feels ridiculous to them when film claims to be speaking for them.”
“My film is hard and entertaining at the same time, taking a lot of references from the film Noi Siamo Infinito (The Perks of Being a Wallflower).
“I tried in every way to work on the characters, pointing out concisely how Antonio the stupid guy, Lorenzo the gay guy, and Blue, the slutty girl, avoiding the stereotypes and leaving them to the things people write on walls at school and in the restrooms and at the same time trying to get closer to them in profound ways, because only when we know people do we discover their richness, their diversity, their complexity.”
Ivan Cotroneo is the director of another of our favorites, Kryptonite Nella Borsa, set in Napoli in the ’70s and a kind of Italian “Wonder Years” for little Peppino, just a little less warm and fuzzy. His Dad is cheating on his Mom, his Mom has taken to her bed with depression, his uncle and aunt are babysitting by getting him high at hippie parties, and his older cousin dies. Oh, and all the kids at school hate him. What a little guy like Peppino needs in a situation like this is a Super Hero.
He’s got one – cousin Gennaro, a few screws loose and has always believed himself to be Superman, (Italian Superman, rather); when he dies he continues to appear to Peppino in times of need. La Kryptonite Nella Borsa is a comedy that’s a little melancholy and a little kitschy, but very fresh and entertaining. It does a pretty good job of capturing the era with all the right clothes and a fun soundtrack featuring Iggy Pop, David Bowie, and an Italian language cover of “These Boots Are Made For Walking” by Planet Funk.