Naples and its surroundings are depicted in a realist, grotesque, animated, melodramatic version, in many of the films being screened in Venice74: Ammore e malavita by Manetti Bros, Nato a Casal di Principe by Bruno Oliviero, Il Signor Rotpeter by Antonietta De Lillo, Gatta Cenerentola by Alessandro Rak, Ivan Cappiello, Marino Guarnieri and Dario Sansone, Veleno by Diego Olivares, L'equilibrio by Vincenzo Marra. The list includes Il cratere (The crater - Settimana della Critica), a debut fiction work by Silvia Luzi and Luca Bellino, documentary makers and producers (with TFilm), where we enter the authentic world, not recreated as a set, of the young promises of the neo-melodic music, of parents investing money and time in their children in the hope of achieving an easy success. A world that revolves around recording studios, local tv studios, auditions and self-produced CDs, parties and exhibitions. 

13 year old Sharon (Sharon Caroccia) is catapulted in this universe by her father, a peddler (also in real life) who makes a living touring town festivals with a truck filled with stuffed toy animals, lottery trophies. Rosario is resolved, to the point of obsession, to gain redemption through his daughter’s musical talent that must be trained. Sharon (a young promise of neo-melodic music in true life) experiences all the desires, the boredom and the rebellions of a young girl her age. The constant conflict between the two is captured by the camera tailing them, in an almost exasperating way, exalting their faces in close ups. 

What was the idea behind the film?
Luca Bellino (LB): We thought of it two years ago, the idea was to portray a father’s effort to find redemption and social recognition through his son or daughter, and we set it in this space. It’s something that happens all over the world, in sports, dance, or classical music, in middle-class spheres. We didn’t want to portray a father getting rich by exploiting his kids, that was not our focus.
Silvia Luzi (SL): The film is set within the boundaries of the world of neo-melodic music, because in it social recognition is immediate. If the song is a success, the singer immediately becomes somebody. 

Isn’t Rosario’s intention to make money?
SL: No, it’s social redemption. His rebellion is weird, ragged, call it what you want. As is Sharon’s.
LB: It’s normal for adolescents to rebel, and the father rebels through the son, but these rebellions are historically destined to clash. 

Why the title?
SL: It refers to a constellation, Crater, it’s very bright but it’s only visible in spring in the southern hemisphere. Our characters are very bright. The crater is at the same time an idea of space, the liquid space in which Naples and Caserta are, a space living on its own music. These are places we know well thanks to previous Italian and foreign television productions.
LB: But their crater is also the family, it’s the courtyard in the house where Sharon and Rosario live, it’s a crater in the crater.

You looked for the protagonists in every-day life.
SL. We wanted to give reality a bigger role in a work of fiction, but with a script. Rosario himself wrote some of the monologues, he had some ideas for the script. His job, clothes and environment are authentic.
LB. For three months we did castings in private TV studios, recording studios, meeting the families, and we ran into Sharon and Rosario by chance. 

Did you start by looking for the adolescent?
SL: Sharon was a final epiphany, a revelation. We saw her singing a song at a town party to attract customers to her father’s truck. We immediately understood that she was the face we were looking for.
LB: To tell the truth we had already made a selection, the casting was closed, but Sharon and Rosario’s talent surprised us.

Specifically, what surprised you?
LB: In Sharon, she was 12 at the time, it was an angelical face but with an iron stare, that she still has. Rosario had an unawareness and an acting talent and an expression that conveys anguish, perseverance and anger at the same time.
SL: Rosario already had everything in him, he only needed to express it, while with Sharon every scene required a particular preparation, so in some way she studied. 

How long did it take to film Il cratere?
LB. Two, three months of preparation with them and four for filming. We practiced each scene for three, four days, we discussed it with them, especially with Rosario. But we filmed in sequence.
SL. The work was long and complex because both had to change their character. Sharon is happy by nature while her character is very reflexive and quiet, her inner world appears through her eyes. We worked by subtraction with Rosario, we transformed him into a father with a heroic will who compresses his anger and displays it on his face. Their challenge was to overturn their characters. 

What meaning can we give to the video cameras controlling Sharon at home?
LB. The house gradually becomes if not a prison a border, because the lack of social recognition leads to being entrenched in defense of a small world. It’s a mix of control and protection of his daughter when love degenerates.

Cinematic references?
LB. Kiarostami for the work with the adolescents, the non professional actors, but not in the style. However we had no precise model to follow for filming. The quotes, if there are any, are unintentional.