Beautiful Things

by Agostino Ferrente and Giovanni Piperno
documentary, Italy, 2013, 87'

Directed by Agostino Ferrente and Giovanni Piperno
Production Pirata M.C., Parallelo 41, Point Film, Bianca Film
With the Patronage of Ipotesi Cinema
Produced by Donatella Botti, Antonella Di Nocera, Agostino Ferrente, Donatella Francucci, Betta Olmi, Giovanni Piperino
With Enzo Della Volpe, Fabio Rippa, Adela Serra, Silvana Sorbetti
Story and Screenplay Agostino Ferrente e Giovanni Piperno
Assistant director and second assistant camera Sebastiano Mazzillo
Editing Paolo Petrucci, Roberta Cruciani
Cinematography Giovanni Piperno
Sound Maximilien Gobiet, Daniele Maraniello, Marco Saveriano
Music Rocco De Rosa, Canio Loguercio, Alessandro Murzi
Editing collaboration Alessia Gherardelli, David Tomasini
Script Voice off Maurizio Braucci, Paolo Vanacore
Post production Point Film, Magui Studio, Boomerang, Rec & Play
Legal advice Studio Legale Paoletti

“Maybe time doesn't exist. It is merely a popular belief, a superstition, a song. You spend all your time waiting, and then all of a sudden, just remembering.   So will the beautiful things ever arrive? Or have they already been?”. A 'film of the real' shot over 13 years, recounting the hardship – and the beauty – of growing up in Southern Italy. Adele, Enzo, Fabio and Silvana are shown in two crucial periods of their lives: as youngsters in a Naples full of hope in 1999 and then on the cusp of adulthood ten years later, in a documentary mash-up of film time and real time. All set in a city seething like magma, where good and evil are always so, so close, shaping the complex course of human lives.

When Ferrente and Piperno made their 1999 film Interview With My Mother, a documentary for Rai Tre about fragmented adolescent lives, the four protagonists were asked how they saw their future: they answered with eyes radiant and brimming through the still vivid dreams of youth, and with that Neapolitan self-irony that helps defuse and erase the storms of life. At the same time, those eyes told of profound disenchantment. Maybe because catastrophe is always around the corner living in Naples: it's a threat – and also an alibi ­– that fills Neapolitans’ lives with resignation. Adele, Enzo, Fabio and Silvana: it's as if they already knew this, by instinct and upbringing.

Ten years later, the Naples of the cultural renaissance that attracted artists from around the world has become a city submerged in rubbish. The directors went back to the four kids and filmed them for about three years: self-irony has given way to stark realism and they don't believe in the “beautiful things” anymore. Or maybe they've learned not to look for them in the future or the past but in the present. The fleeting present, lived with that broken-hearted yearning in the endless daily struggle for a decent existence; or better still, lived with resistance to the hardship and the difficulties, but somehow with dignity and beauty. And so we find them often swimming against the current and sometimes being carried away.

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Awards and Festivals

  • Nastri d’Argento 2014 -Premio speciale Miglior Docufilm
  • Doc/it Professional Award 2013 - Miglior documentario italiano e premio del pubblico italiano e internazionale
  • Salina Doc Fest 2013 - Primo Premio
  • Festival dei Popoli e delle Religioni 2013 - Miglior documentario
  • Annecy Cinéma Italien 2013-Prix du Jury Jeune
  • Rencontres du Cinéma Italien à Toulouse 2013 - Menzione speciale
  • MedFilm Festival - Riconoscimento speciale
  • Festival Internazionale Cinema Mediterraneo Tétouan 2013 – Prix Azzedine Meddour
  • Bellaria Film Festival 2013 - Menzione speciale Concorso Italia Doc e Casa Rossa Doc
  • Visioni Fuori Raccordo Film Festival 2013- Menzione speciale
  • Festival del Cinema Italiano di Como 2014 - Premio Scuole di cinema
  • Taormina Film Fest 2014 - Premio Cariddi Miglior documentario italiano e Cariddino d’Oro Giuria degli Studenti Agiscuola, Anec
  • Laceno d’Oro 2014 - Premio alla produzione ad Antonella Di Nocera
  • Faito doc Festival 2014 -GrandPrix
  • SiciliAmbiente Documentary Film Festival 2014 - Premio del pubblico e Premio Speciale "Own Air" Targa "Il Faro"

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