We met the director Enzo d’Alò in Rome, who with the animated film Mary and the Midnight Spirit brings an autobiographical story by Roddy Doyle to the cinema. The music is provided by David Rhodes, his former collaborator on The Seagull and the Cat, who was also present at the press conference. At the cinema from November 23rd.
It arrives at the cinema from November 23rd Mary and the Midnight Spiritanimated film that Enzo d’Alò based on the novel by Roddy Doyle “Midnight trip“, calling to help him with the music all the same David Rhodes who accompanied him at the time of Gabbianella and the Cat. At the press conference Enzo and David presented their work to us, the result of a long gestation that began in 2014, started in full swing in 2018 and with pauses due to the pandemic.
Mary and the Midnight Spirit, Enzo d’Alò: “I have always read a lot”
Enzo d’Alò he has always based his films on works by famous writerslike Gianni Rodari, Luis Sepúlveda, Michael Ende… and this time he faced Roddy Doylewhich in the novel origin of Mary and the Midnight Spirit had placed a past autobiographical, an explicit homage to the women of his family. This element made the film for Enzo a “double responsibility“: he had to respect Doyle and at the same time seek an intimacy and empathy that spoke to everyone. Doyle was happy with the result, and was involved in a cameo recognizable, with a joke written by himself and in his style! “I have always read a lot”, explains d’Alò. Even before he decided to dedicate himself to cinema and the image: perhaps he saw his role as reader that of “first director“, but transposing a book into a film presupposes the fascinating transition from subjective to objective sensationthat everyone can live.
The Irish matriarchy and Mary’s indomitable spirit
D’Alò, born in 1953, says: “We are one generation of dreamersour parents had fought in the war, we followed ours Utopiaafter ’68”. Precisely for this reason it is easy for him to identify with the eleven-year-old rebellious Marywho dreams of doing it chef and is opposed by her mother Scarlett: “Dad wanted me to be an engineer, Mary is my childish side. We need excesses when we are children”. We need new utopias, new dreams, for a handover from the old to the new generation, as symbolically in a certain sense also happened at the end of The seagull and the cat. D’Alò and co-writer Dave Ingham thought of a symbolic expansion of this projection forward, while placing the tradition: the cooking schoolthe spur to realize the future, and to stage a complicity between Mary and her grandmother. “Grandparents embody memories, they are free spirits with their grandchildren, parents can’t afford that.”
A an all-female affairtimely for the direction that cinematographic stories are taking, but also for the news: it’s nice, but there’s nothing voluntary about it, also because the Irish culture there is one matriarchal root a little different from the rest of Europe and Italy.
Mary’s music and the midnight spirit
Mary and the Midnight Spirit uses the music of David Rhodesthat after The seagull and the cat returns to work with d’Alò: “Enzo is very clear in his requests, he always told me what he liked but also what he DIDN’T like! (… In the soundtrack) there are no themes for individual characters, but for moods. There is a contrast between reality and the spiritual world (in the film there is a ghost and there are more visionary sequences, ed.). At the beginning he asked me not to use the guitar, but the harp and flutes.” Una instrumentation with an Irish folklore basefor example in the particular bagpipes, but then gradually enriched and reinterpreted in a modern key. Enzo doesn’t spare himself in directives, because he studied music but I then stopped to pursue cinema, wanting to choose and “not leave things halfway”. On the other hand, Mary and the Midnight Spirit is a feature film that also lives on its own cultural contaminations.
Matilda De Angelisdefined by d’Alò as “a slightly older Mary”, lent her voice to two original songs on the soundtrack.
Mary and the Midnight Spirit, the special contributions to the image
There are some dream sequences in the film, and to make them Enzo d’Alò asked for help from two artistic personalities he trusted. Marco Zanoni he staged i dreams of grandmother Emermoving the pencil sketches of the characters, meeting at the root the nervous and very vital style of the character designer Peter DeSève, already working in the past for Pixar and Blue Sky. Another black and white, with a very different flavor, more disturbing and almost “woodcut“, is that of the dreams of a dog: the mastery of the Portuguese animator Regina Pessoa allowed them to be brought to life in the best way. “In real life cinema perhaps animation is used for this type of parenthesis, I already work with animation, so I have to change style“, comments the director.
Mary and the Midnight Spirit, the review of the animated film by Enzo d’Alò by Roddy Doyle