A fiction film showing a documentary gaze, a videoclip aesthetics that ends up in the pure beauty of the videoart. This is Atlantide by director and videomaker Yuri Ancarani. Presented in competition in the Orizzonti section of the Venice Film Festival, the film tells Venice and his inhabitants in an original and unprecedented way by taking us on the Venetian ‘barchini’ (small boats) that goes from one island in the lagoon to the other.

In front of the viewers’ eyes, a world made of half-naked teenagers driving their small boats, with ever more powerful engines, loud music and light drugs, machismo and high-speed races. Atlantide is not a strictly narrative film: the storyline is just sketched and a documentary-like narrative makes us plunge into all of his extraordinary contradictions.

The film conveys realism from every frame, with an exceptional attention for the form and aesthetics. The rhythm is low, fluctuating from scene to scene with no rush, with the lightness of a boat on the lagoon, up until some sequences with a purely aesthetics value, “a psychedelic experience that takes the viewer to wonder questions.” The music is key and plays a central role in the film. “I had to blend different worlds,” explains the director, “on the one hand we had the Hollywood orchestra of Lorenzo Senni and Francesco Fantini, who delivers true emotions; on the other hand, there’s the plastic music of the trappers. When I listened to the songs, I realized that if I erased the voices, the bases were just gorgeous. So I got in touch with this great producer, Sick Luke, and I asked him to work on the film.”

Atlantide is a visual and immersive experience, but one shouldn’t forget what’s at its core, that is the story of a generation lost in a city with water instead of streets, and boats instead of motorbikes. An ‘abandoned city’ where these youths live in a vicious circle of perdition and violence. “There’s nothing fun in being a teenager in this macho world,” states Ancarani, “where they teach you to be the strongest, the fastest, the winning one, otherwise you’re just a loser. In Venice, this ritual is orchestrated by the small boats, so this film is also an excuse to explore an issue. Because there’s no difference between Daniele, the protagonist, and Jeff Bezos: Daniele wants to drive faster, Bezos wants to go on Mars. What’s the difference between space rockets and the small boats? There’s none.”