EFP Cannes
23 July 2017

Banana (first feature)

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Banana

Banana

original title:

BANANA

directed by:

screenplay:

cinematography:

costume design:

production:

Good Films, supported by MiBACT, Garance Capital, with the support of Regione Lazio, in association with Banca Popolare di Sondrio

country:

Italy

year:

2014

film run:

82'

format:

colour

release date:

15/01/2015

festival & awards:

Banana is a passionate and funny young boy convinced that life's goal is to be happy. For him, more concretely, happiness means to win Jessica's love, even though she is the most cynical girl in the universe.

DIRECTOR'S NOTES:
Here's the story of a young boy who cries out (loudly) 'yes' to life.
In half-line, this film is the story of a boy who goes to great lengths to win a girl's love. While the plot proceeds through twists and jokes as sharp as blades (hopefully), on a deeper thematical level, the film speaks of the need of this boy not to see his life wasted. While almost all the characters in this story act as those who know that life is not worth suffering, for Banana it's different. Banana, although in the end will not win over the girl, understands what is his place in the world. He is a lover of beauty, grandeur and all of life's deep meanings. And he understands that, to achieve all of them, he must be willing to struggle and suffer. He will also drag others into his world. First of all, the terrible Professor Colonna.
Banana is also the story of a boy capable of making an adult revive.
Here, adults. This story wants to speak especially to them. Banana would do anything to have a mentor by his side, an adult who could explain him how things work. However, apparently, no adults like this are to be seen. In this story all adults feel so inexplicably unhappy, lost, away from themselves. They can no longer remember what pure life is. That same life that, over time, they have seen stiffen and fading through roles and masks, performances and disappointments. Adults can not be what they want to be, to do what they should do.
Emma, Banana's sister, knows that she should follow her great love and continue to fight for the job she loves. But she is as if paralyzed, terrified by a reality which appears in front of her as an insurmountable wall.
Yeah, reality. The one of the country we're living in. A country which is becoming more and more vulgar, dull, petty, cynical, and mostly tired. A reality from which even Mrs. Colonna, the intelligent, deep (and very mean) professor of Banana, fails to react. The other teachers not even to mention: the gym teacher is lame, math's is overworked by his pupils jokes, another teacher thinks only about selling necklaces to her colleagues, another sleeps all the time.
Banana has to count only on himself. Also because his peers are useless as allies. They are all violent and greedy profiteers (although really funny). Especially Jessica, perhaps the worst of all. But we know that the kid can make it. For as much as tender, funny and ridiculous he is, he definetely has the stature of a small hero. Isn't it a heroic act to believe that one can live with beautiful, clean and simple things? You need much courage to be convinced that reality, however absurd, obtuse and cruel is also capable of beautiful gifts.
This film is a comedy. It makes you laugh and, at least in my intentions, very much. It is also one of those plays where you just need to scratch a little to feel a bitter taste. The kind of play which, in my opinion, can tell with more richness of tones the story of a naive kid, not that good at school, with a foot with the shape of a banana, who points out the more difficult, honest and vital road to happiness.
Douglas Sirk, the director of "Magnificent Obsession", once said: "With cinema you have to make people cry or laugh.". Well, I've tried.