Shark teeth arrive at the cinema on June 8, a convincing coming-of-age story directed by Davide Gentile in his debut and played by a very young and intense protagonist, well supported by a good cast. Daniela Catelli’s review.
An adventurous summer, friends and a memorable event – traumatic or otherwise – that changes life forever by making the protagonist grow up: these are the elements at the basis of many American coming-of-age stories, a genre little practiced by us but declined in a excellent and original from Shark teethbeautiful work before David Gentilebased on a Solinas award-winning screenplay by Valerio Cilio e Gianluca Leonciniremained closed in a drawer for a long time and fortunately recovered, thanks also to the collaboration with Gabriele Mainettiartistic producer of the project as well as co-author of the beautiful soundtrack.
The film tells the long summer of Walter, a fatherless thirteen year old, a former criminal who abandoned his previous life and died in a sewage treatment plant to save the life of a colleague. We are at the sea, where this little boy who seems smaller than his age, full of anger, stares at the water sulking and dressed, among swimming and shouting peers, in conflict with his mother who, destroyed by pain, tries to stay close to him but not manages to give him the answers he seeks. This is how Walter enters the Corsair’s immense and sinister villa, where he discovers a shark in the gigantic swimming pool, a tower with an underground that has witnessed bloodshed, and finds in the park a slightly older boy, Carlo, who he says he is its guardian and introduces him into a small criminal world, which to Walter seems to be the only way to accept his father’s legacy, refusing his repentance which he considers responsible for his death.
It could all turn out to be a simple and basically obvious story of criminal education, born from the rebellion of a child devoured by the desire to grow up and understand, who finds his revenge on the world in the emulation of the forced and overpowering behaviors of adults. But Shark teeth is a small multi-layered film, anything but superficial, in whose deep waters repressed feelings and hidden truths swim, a Treasure Island which is at the same time Isolachenoncè, where the young protagonist finds pirates, but above all rediscovers The lost child inside him. And the film does all of this (and much more) without overdoing it, with a lightness of touch, both in the writing and directing and acting phases, which perfectly manages to balance the different souls and suggestions of a story that could happen everywhere, where everyone will be able to see and recognize the cinematographic references and beyond and above all find the rebellious teenager he was (were we not all, after all?).
Shark teeth stages mourning, loss, the need to come to terms with the suffering and pain that are sometimes part of life, the legends that help us live and above all the need to choose which side to be on: if with the shark showing its teeth (as sung by Mackie Messer in the Threepenny Opera) or in the sea of transparency, honesty, play and the salvation of those who are victims and prisoners. All the departments really contribute to the success of this surprising and promising debut, seasoned with irony and wonder, from the choice of suggestive locations to the excellent special effects (let’s not doubt for a moment that the shark is real) to the performances of the actors: Tiziano Menichelliabsolute debutant, steals the show and literally punches the screen, always credible and spontaneous, well supported by Carlo di Stephen Rosci and by adults, Virginia Raphaelgood in the unusual role of this loving and sorrowful mother and – in minor but no less important roles – Claudius SantamariaWalter’s projection of paternal consciousness, ed Edward Fish, who adds a beautiful portrait to his gallery of menacing but sometimes also lovable villains with the cameo of the irresistible Corsair. One of the young man’s most beautiful songs starts on the end credits – a logical choice but one that moves us equally Edward Bennato“When you grow up”, and even if even today that we have been for a while we don’t know Why and the promises of the greats have not always come true, we discover again with Walter how life is an adventure to be lived in a perennial summer of the soul, without wasting it on recriminations and revenge.