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Croce e delizia of being children of art in Italy

"Inheriting" notoriety has its drawbacks. Pietro Castellitto knows this well, at the cinema with his second film and with everyone’s eyes on him


Lock for many gates, lock for as many doors: the surname is known, it is cumbersome. From school, through the small village celebrities, to the very important people of cinema and sport, those who carry a surname already known in the environment know that they live with the gaze of all pointed at them. So a simple "A chi sei figlio?" is the bearer of huge expectations, that the audience, sadistically, can’t wait to be disregarded.

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Un post condiviso da The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast)

Pietro Castellitto, who has been at the cinema with Enea since 11 January, in the triple role of director, screenwriter and actor, knows how much that question weighs. Born in 1991, son of the actor and director Sergio Castellitto (L’ultimo bacio, Una famiglia perfetta, Non ti muovere) and Margaret Mazzantini, writer and screenwriter (Venuto al mondo, Nessuno si salva da solo). There were many couples collaborations: the first adapted to cinema books written by the second.

Pietro Castellitto begins to act, very young, in his father’s films, but there are other roles that consecrate him to the general public: first that of Secco in La profezia dell'armadillo, adaptation of the comic of the same name by Zerocalcare, then that of Francesco Totti in the series Sky Speravo de morì prima. 

Won over the fans, it was the turn of the awards juries: with I predatori, the debut film of Castellitto, in 2021 he won the best debut director category at David di Donatello and Nastro d'argento for the best debut director.

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Un post condiviso da Pietro Castellitto (@pietrocastellitto)

A success that weighs, along with his surname, on Enea: will it be up to the debut? While the first work sees the Roman middle-class, radical chic and nostalgic professionals of the Twenties, the protagonist of an interweaving of existences nothing short of grotesque, in the second film the protagonists are the "children" of that class.

Enea (Pietro Castellitto) and Valentino (Giorgio Quarzo Guarascio, real name of the Roman rapper Tutti Fenomeni) are two friends united by the drug dealing and love for parties of the capital. Son of a fine but unhappy family, he will live a criminal adventure greater than him. The challenge for Castellitto is to be able to tell the (mala) Roma bene, hostage now of the dream-Sorrentinian narrative of La grande bellezza; to get out of a representation of the crime monopolized by Romanzo criminale and Suburra. These are the two great challenges of director Millennial.

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Un post condiviso da Pietro Castellitto (@pietrocastellitto)

But the question that snakes between seasoned filmmakers and paying audiences is: will it be up to the father? A cross, that of descent, that affects not only the world of cinema.

The practitioners of the one true (spherical) Italian religion will remember that "the badges of the fathers fall on the children": the story of the series A is full of locked dynasties, inexhaustible source of chatter from bars. Yesterday the lineage of Mazzola and Maldini, today that of Federico Chiesa and Cristian Totti, on whose shoulders the task of giving meaning to the role of "flag player" of Italian clubs. And don’t miss a cross: a "your father kicked better" is always ready to get up from the stands.

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Un post condiviso da Federico Chiesa (@fedexchiesa)

There is also an indissoluble link between the world of music, the children of and the people’s court; one and three when it comes to Sanremo. Many last names known that over the years have ventured with the most difficult stage of Rai. Last year it was the turn of Luca d'Alessio, aka LDA, son of the Neapolitan singer-songwriter: a surname symbol of Neapolitan music, from which the young artist has stood out considerably. This year, instead, it will be up to Angelina Mango, daughter of the famous singer by Potenza: genre completely different from his father, the artist class 2001 aims to become the future queen of the summer tormentone.

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Un post condiviso da Angelina Mango (@angelinamango_)

The paradox is repeated for every rising star, in every field; the rumors alternate cyclically, depending on the star and our mood. We are frustrated by our failures and the baby-vip has a good time? "It is successful only because it has that surname: who knows who put it there...". Neocelebrity is wrong and we have had our little daily satisfaction? "Look! He can never do better than his parents!".

How terrible it is, how demeaning for us and them... but how much we like to talk about it! Talk about it badly possibly.



Illustration by Gloria Dozio - Acrimònia Studios