Valeria Golino returns to Un Certain Regard with her second film, Euforia, dealing once more with the shadow of illness and loss –however in an opposite and symmetrical key compared to her debut work Miele – with the story of two brothers forced to share an apartment in Rome, where they discover they are actually closer than they knew, as one of the brothers finds out the other is sick and decides to hide the truth from him. “I didn’t confront this topic with a rational and clear cut point of view about death – sais the director – it was more of an irrational attitude. Although, on second thought, if I have to portray an existential topic in today’s world, in which everything is ephemeral, I search for what has remained untouched, and in this sense death is the absolute protagonist”.

A spiral of fragility overcomes two apparently very distant people: Matteo (Riccardo Scamarcio), a young successful, audacious, narcissist entrepreneur, who indulges his distractions with money, drugs, sex and the cult of his body. His brother Ettore (Valerio Mastandrea) still lives in the small province town, Nepi, where they were born, teaching in a middle school. He is a cautious and morally integral man who has always stayed in the shadows as to not be found at fault, hiding his personal failures and lack of satisfaction behind a mask of disillusionment and sarcasm. The story was inspired by a personal situation that involved the director, the story of a dear friend, to whom the character of Riccardo Scamarcio is inspired, who went through something similar to what the film portrays: “Many of the facts and events are his stories. He had just done one of his ridiculous and magnificent gestures, an act of magnanimous and incongruous pity, that seemed to me the perfect idea for a story that I then worked on with caution, trying to distance myself from any private events”.

So Matteo, who goes through life believing he possesses the means to do and win anything, tries to dismiss and deal with the facts of life with the usual control, in the moment he realizes there is a block in the strongest relationship he has. Instead Ettore choses to let go, to be guided, to believe in his brother and his attitude of believing he can win over anything. “I have met many Matteos – sais Mastandrea, talking about Scamarcio’s role – people full of humanity but with a certain bulimic attitude towards life. Lonely people, who find it difficult be in contact with the important things in life, with their own emotional sphere”. But illness, the place of human fragility and frailty, forces people to relinquish appearances and confront pain and emotional depth. This awareness leads to Euforia, that the director defines as “that good and dangerous sensation that divers feel in the depths of the sea: to feel happy and completely free. This is the feeling that must prompt the immediate decision to resurface before it is to late, before being forever lost in the deep”.

The cast includes, in secondary roles, Valentina Cervi, Isabella Ferrari and Jasmine Trinca, Ettore’s former lover who is involved by Matteo when his brother’s treatments seem to fail. A character she much appreciated because of her “sincerity and absence of hypocrisy in speaking about what it means to find yourself with the burden of a huge responsibility, unwanted and impossible to carry through with. I couldn’t have been so significant with so little with any other director”.    

The film, to be released in Italy in autumn by 01, is gaining good results on the market: True Colours has already sold it to Greece and China among others. Indigo Filmm and Ht film, who produced it with Rai Cinema, are selling it to the States, Great Britain, Australia, Japan and Spain.