Wednesday, August 4

‘Luca’: Pixar travels to the happiest summer of childhood | Culture

One summer many years ago, Enrico crossed paths with Alberto. He was a shy, introverted boy. The kind of teenager who, at a party, prefers to hide in a corner. That boy, on the other hand, did not seem to be afraid of anything. And immediately they became inseparable. They shared adventures, got into a thousand troubles and enjoyed unforgettable days under the sun of the Cinque Terre, in northern Italy. Time passed, summers, life. But their bond held. When he grew up, Alberto became a colonel in the aviation. After all, he had always had wings. Enrico Casarosa, more given to reflection, ended up in the cinema. He went to the United States, joined the Pixar production company and one day said that he had come up with an idea for a movie. “The anchor was the relationship with my best friend,” he explains now, aged 49 and with a smile. And even though Luca, which premieres this Friday on Disney +, Born from the filmmaker’s memory, it celebrates a universal memory: the happiest summer of childhood.

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For the first time, a non-American director takes the reins of a Pixar film alone. Although the Genoese assures that he did not feel more pressure. The company’s curriculum was enough: “You notice the weight almost more for so many films that set a very high bar.” He himself contributed to works such as Ratatouille, Up O Coco, in addition to achieving an Oscar nomination with the short The moon. Now, for the biggest challenge of his career, Casarosa has taken Pixar to his ground. Luca follow a young sea creature emerging from the Ligurian Sea to discover all that the outside world has to offer. In the fishing village of Portorosso find friends, ice creams, laughs and bicycles. But also tears, disappointments and difficult first decisions.

“Maybe I think more about children than other Pixar directors. And also in the child within adults. I want to travel with nostalgia to the world of childhood. To that sense of wonder, of the game. I don’t do the equation ‘this is not complex enough for a larger audience’, just like Soul [el anterior filme de la compañía] he didn’t worry about whether the little ones understood everything. I hope the feelings are strong: betrayal, shame, apology, sadness. But I want it to be bittersweet, for the emotion to come with sweetness”, explains Casarosa. Hayao Miyazaki worshiper and the animation studio Ghibli, the filmmaker has painted a watercolor of narrow streets washed by the sea, where the elderly ladies stroll slowly, the fishermen gather their nets and the day begins and ends in the piazza.

Deep down, this was his home. Although the director decided to put his memories to the test. “At first, the memory was only mine. But I understood that I had to check certain aspects, because I haven’t lived in Italy for a long time, and it was also very subjective, ”explains Casarosa. Hence, he received help from various collaborators in his country. He also went directly to ask the inhabitants of Luca: In 2016, he traveled with his team to the Cinque Terre with a notebook full of doubts. The recipe for pesto that is seen in the film, for example, passed the filter of the local grandmothers; and there was even “a symposium” with Disney members [propietaria de Pixar] Italy on how the characters should gesticulate, in which each one contributed their vision and discarded stereotypical recreations.

Thus, in the film there are scooters, pasta, a nod to Marcello Mastroianni and songs familiar to any Italian resound. The film’s original voices, however, speak English. “I wanted to keep the flavor of the language, but the constant subtitles are a barrier for too many children,” explains the director. Even so, from time to time someone exclaims “Santa! mozzarella!” or is presented with a “pleasure”.

References to such a specific world also served another purpose. Disney already told the young Ariel’s curiosity to emerge from the water and discover humans. And Pixar herself dived into the ocean with Nemo and Dory. Casarosa was aware of the risks: “Certain aspects could evoke The little Mermaid. We should have seen it again, because you can even create a similar moment without realizing it. But we also knew that Luca it was very different. And I wanted to show specifically the Ligurian Sea, with its stones and its colors ”.

Enrico Casarosa, on June 13, in Genoa.
Enrico Casarosa, on June 13, in Genoa. SIMONE ARVEDA / EFE

Luca it was also unpublished. What Soul Y Onward, previous Pixar productions. After several sequels, the company is back on new ideas. Although Casarosa does not see big differences. “If a director has an idea that creates sparks, they move on. Even the bosses are a bit filmmakers and if there is something electric, they support it. It is true that the continuation of a story makes success more likely and success easier. marketing. But many of the newer directors come up with new things. And when you believe it is no different ”, he points out. This is how he defended it at Pixar artistic meetings: each project that the company launches goes through multiple filters, where other creators and directors of the house provide suggestions, doubts and criticism.

Although, in reality, the most important good looks for Luca they arrived recently. Before showing the film to his family, Casarosa was honest in the car: “I’m tense, I’ve been telling you about this for five years.” His daughter immediately reassured him. And, after the projection, he reaffirmed himself: “Did you see, Dad, that you shouldn’t worry?” Alberto has also seen the movie. Apparently his wife must have patted him several times to help him overcome the emotion. In addition, both friends have met during the promotion of the film in Italy: “It was beautiful. He told me: ‘Beautiful, beautiful’. In between, he also put in an expletive. Very Alberto ”.

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