Tense and gloomy portrait of two brothers between a painful past and a no less present, Like sheep in the midst of wolves is a convincing debut for Lyda Patitucci, whom we met in Rotterdam together with the protagonists Isabella Ragonese and Andrea Arcangeli.
harbour. A port, but also a refuge for many different stories. A section of the International Film Festival Rotterdamwhich struck us from the first look at the program, and a perfect container to place the intriguing first work of Lyda Patitucci (but there is also Night exterior Of Looker), Like sheep among wolves.
Specializes in the most dynamic scenes of a couple of I stop when I want, The first king e Fast as the windas well as having directed some of the episodes of the Netflix series Curon, Patitucci debuts with a sharp and dark crime noir. He goes straight to the point, going deep into stripping the characters, physically as emotionally, without giving in to the call of overly conciliatory turns.
Produced by Matthew Oak for Greenland, written by Philip Gravino and interpreted convincingly by Isabella Ragonese e Andrea Archangels, Like sheep among wolves tells of Vera, an undercover police officer in the Slavic underworld of Rome, with whom she shares the knowledge of the language, from her mother who died young. While infiltrating a gang of robbers, he discovers that his brother, Bruno, is among them, with whom he shares a painful past but not a present in which the two hardly see each other anymore. He is busy giving a future to her daughter, Marta, protecting her in some way from her drug-addicted mother.
“The script struck a chord with what I like to see as a spectator,” the director told us during a meeting in Rotterdam. “Mi it intrigued how at the center there was the story of a relationship between brothers, a unique type of relationship that touches me very closely, having a very close experience with my brother. It is not very common for it to be the emotional pull of a story, even more so with a brother and sister as protagonists. I saw the possibility of boxing it in codes that I feel in my heart. For a long time I dealt with the technical aspect of directing, directing second units. Like sheep among wolves allowed me to work on the characters, but within a context that requires a technical structure that is stimulating for me. It was a union that stimulated me a lot”.
And crime thriller very tense to Don Winslow, to talk about literature, unusual in our area and which refers to the classic archetypes of the genre, with a protagonist who has built an unbreakable armor, at least in appearance. “It’s rare that an actress is offered a role like this,” she told us with evident enthusiasm Isabella Ragonese. “They are films of a genre that is not made much in Italy, more if anything with male protagonists. With a woman in my opinion the story changes completely. Starting from a female point of view, dynamics are triggered that change the direction of a genre that has its own rules. I dived happily, I always try to get in trouble, to do different things. I wouldn’t have done it if I hadn’t trusted Lyda, her enthusiasm and her expertise, because for me, even as a spectator, it’s a new world. It was an incredible opportunity to work on other, more physical levels. We did an intense training, both me and Andrea, then in many scenes I speak another language. It’s a film about relationships disguised as noir, with an unpredictable female character, with a dark and unresolved life. It was particular to tell Vera, to decide what to reveal about her, with a continuous tension between what goes through her head and what she can show about her. A beautiful experimentation from an acting point of view, don’t show too much, but at the same time allow the viewer to grasp emotions. He is an always compressed character ”.
Returning from a very muscular role like the one in Romulusalready Divine pigtail e Mute of Gallura, Andrew Archangels he threw himself heart and soul into Bruno’s shoes. As he told us, “The strength of the film is that it rests on a more auteur than crime structure, with relationships at the centre, so the characters stand on solid foundations, they don’t just throw themselves on stage to shoot. They bring with them a huge history that is only hinted at, which we wanted to be told first of all by the body. It was therefore essential to work on the physique. It’s the first time I’ve been the father of such a big girl, it was nice to create a relationship with her. I was terrified, she’s not small enough to take her and force her to be your daughter. I had to create a relationship right from the auditions, it was one of the most beautiful phases. Carolina Michelangeli, who plays little Marta, was fantastic. I would also like to give an endorsement to Isabella, an actress I have revered since I never imagined being an actor yet. I also leaned into her, mirroring the sister-brother relationship of our characters.”
A suspended story, in which the ties are stripped and little interested in what happens around, with many scenes acted in Serbian, the place of origin of the members of the criminal gang. “The city is present, it is not hidden, but they never interact with it. It’s a small story of a few characters that had to go deep, it’s a very intimate film. After all, communication, opening up or not with the other, which most of the time passes through abuse, violence or hiding, is the central point of the film. If two brothers break off all relationships and meet again in this way, we return to the difficulty of internal communication. I see them as two alter egos: on the one hand a woman who has everything under control in her working life, but internally has immaturity and exemplary confusion, on the other a brother who is exactly the opposite, he is very centered emotionally, but in life practice is a disaster”.
Per Isabella Ragonese an entirely internal test and with few dialogues, given the armor with which Vera protects herself away from its surroundings. “It’s like when you lose one sense and the others sharpen. That subtraction can also be a force. Vera for work, and as an automatism also in personal life, should not let any emotion leak. The challenge was to punch with hands tied, being able to communicate a deep emotion in the hold, a very interesting discipline exercise. Even an image from behind can convey something to you. Vera’s was one of the biggest challenges for me.”
Two characters with a lot in common, however, as Arcangeli recalls. “It was nice to see how they were opposite each other. One lives in the inability to communicate and the other in the inability not to communicate. It’s all out, even if he’s small, he’s a wren. I liked that he physically said something while emotionally it’s a blast and he’s looking for something that he doesn’t know where to get from. It is as if each lacks what the other has”. As he adds Isabella Ragonese“as a brother and sister have a common history, which led to him physical self-destruction and her to empower themselves to become a superhero and fight. A common trauma that leads to two different paths and, as often happens with brothers, we find ourselves in front of a mirror that hurts, refusing to see the common root of our own history in the other”.
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