“We tell of a fluid and more authentic Italy”

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SKAM Italia director, screenwriter Alice Urciuolo and the cast presented what they call their “coming of age novel”, streaming on Prime Video from 21 September.

Seeking oneself, getting lost, recognizing oneself in the other. Being seen and judged by others and with difficulty finding oneself without ever feeling complete. Ludovico Bessegato And Alice Urciuolo are among the Italian authors who most of all have managed to stage the discomforts, worries but also the beauty of a complex generation, proud and rich in nuances such as the Gen Z. They did it with SKAM Italy and now they repeat the operation with Prismthe new original series of Prime Video produced by Cross Productions which will be released in streaming next 21 September. But don’t just call it teen series. For the authors it is a real one training story who, photographing a different Italy than usual, wants to contribute to the debate on gender fluidity And rights in our country without pretending to “change heads”. “We want to tell a good story and we hope that our characters will stay”, Bessegato – writer and director – wished during the presentation of the series to the press.

Fluidity, change, innovation: the themes of Prisma

In 8 episodes Prism tells the stories of a group of Latina teenagers focusing on the complex relationship between identity, aspirations, physical appearance and sexual orientations. The protagonists of the story are two twins, Marco and Andrea (played by the newcomer Mattia Carrano), identical in appearance but profoundly different in temperament and concerns they express. Together with their friends, Marco and Andrea embark on a journey of self-discovery in a constantly changing world. There is a desire for innovation in Prismto tell something that still in this world and with this care had never been told. Nicole Morganti, Head of Italian Originals at Amazon Studios, said she was very proud of the work done. “We wanted to innovate on a topic that is very dear to us, the world of young people. Telling their stories, even those that adults struggle to understand. This series will finally make us understand more about gender identity,” she said. Rosario Rinaldo, president of Cross Production, also focused on the key word which is innovation: “Da SKAM Italy to Rocco Schiavonewe have always pursued innovative paths and we also do so with Prisma “.

Prisma on Prime Video

How the series was born: the inspiration and the theme of the double

Prism was born in 2019 when Ludovico Bessegato and Alice Urciuolo, veterans from the very fortunate experience of SKAM Italy, they felt the desire to do something completely original. “For me SKAM was like a great gym but still had a starting script. I was wondering if I would be able to do a series from scratch, it was a real challenge with myself. The opportunity came when Alice got met the transgender poet Giovanna Cristina Vivinetto who has a twin brother. I thought it was a wonderful idea, “said Bessegato.

Giovanna Cristina Vivinetto herself is present in the series and has given her contribution with her poems and life experiences. “Our stories are born from reality. I met Giovanna, read and listened to her story. There is a lot of her in the character of Mattia. The fact that she has a twin allowed us to explore what it means for Andrea to always have to deal with a double that represents what society would ask him to be. What we investigate is just what a man is today, what a woman is. What to expect “, added Alice Urciuolo.

The challenge of bringing twins to the stage

Mattia Carrano, in his first experience on a set ever, was immediately faced with a difficult challenge: putting himself in the shoes of two deeply different twins in character. “For me it was a huge challenge at an actor level. The hardest part? The scenes with the twins. We shot them in succession and I ran to change and step into the shoes of one or the other. With Ludovico we have worked so hard on body language, on how they speak and on many other aspects. I feel both characters very close to me. I think it’s normal for kids to find out, to have fears, “said the protagonist.

Even from a technical point of view, it was not easy. Pairs of twin actors were also tested, but only Mattia Carrano – unearthed thanks to an agency – had certain physical characteristics suitable for both characters. Ludovico Bessegato has revealed some background:

“This was one of the most complex challenges. Beyond the technical difficulties, it was really difficult to find a 21-year-old new actor and give him not one but two roles. I must say that at first we were worried: we saw the dailies, in which a Starring Mattia next to him and we didn’t know if the scenes would work. We only realized that months later at the editing. When everyone started asking us: ‘How did you find twins?’, then we realized that we had done a good work”.

Complex characters in a constantly evolving reality

Ludovico Bessegato, during the press conference for the presentation of Prism, then focused on an interesting topic: is it right or wrong to have actors who have lived the same experiences in real life play certain LGBTQI + roles? On this he said:

“It is illegal to ask an interview or audition to define one’s orientation or identity. So there are cases where people have come out publicly and other cases where this information is about what the person wants to communicate or not. Prism it has characters that define themselves but most of them don’t define themselves and that’s the hallmark of our series. Talking about non-binary, about fluidity. So asking a person to define themselves would have been contrary to what we wanted to tell, that is, a world of people who seek each other but struggle to define themselves. Furthermore, identity and orientation are not static facts. Instead, they are dynamic and constantly evolving. It also does not mean that that condition will remain so in the years in which the show develops. So that element does not have to be a fundamental element in the choice of cast, especially since the identity of Andrea himself is also evolving. All the characters of Prism they have their own complexity and in the casting phase we were only looking for actors who would bring their complexity to the stage without asking them where it came from “.

Prisma on Prime Video

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Latina, a provincial city like no other

Prism is set in Latina, a certainly unusual city. Not the usual big city but not the typical provincial city either. And the choice to place history in certain territories also has a strong cultural significance. “These are the lands of foundation, in the Agro Pontino, which they are the lands founded by fascism. And we all know that fascism had made patriarchal society its only model of the family. These places in the series are the symbol of a greater reality that concerns us all but bear the sign of what we have been and of a whole series of cultural impositions “, explained Alice Urciuolo. Bessegato, who got to know Latina thanks to this last, was immediately very impressed by this young city, which is only 90 years old:

“It is different from any other provincial reality because it does not have a historic center, it does not have the classic street with shops. It has a skyscraper that is the fourth highest in Italy, a nuclear power plant that is slowly being dismantled. It has its own narrative strength and as a director I have seized the opportunities it offers. It is also a fluid city just like our protagonists because it has changed its name three times. “


Prisma’s fluid Italy that “is not a political manifesto”

Can a series like Prism contribute to enriching the debate on gender fluidity, sexual orientation and other issues dear to the LGBTQI + world? On this Bessegato was very clear: although he inevitably inserts himself in a political and cultural debate currently underway, Prisma does not want to teach anyone anything but only to tell a good story, a story that remains. In particular, the director and screenwriter said:

“I would not like to see a series like that exploited Prism. We don’t shy away from telling certain themes and certain characters, but what we wanted to do was a universal series. We are not interested in making a manifesto series, also because society changes and we hope that certain themes will be overcome by history. We would like our series, made up of characters and conflicts, to remain. Our ambition was to do a Bildungsroman: we simply talked about the things that are in the minds and priorities of the kids. I don’t think a series alone can change heads, there is no such ambition. “

Bessegato has not shied away from the hottest questions, given that certain issues dealt with in the series are more current than ever in view of the upcoming political elections. However he sent a message of optimism by referring to a new generation, the one protagonist of Prismwhich is much more open to change:

“I do not have many illusions that a series can shift the electoral results. But at least we contribute to enriching the debate and the representation. It is a slower work but we are happy to contribute to representing a different world, a different and more authentic Italy. But in any case, our ambition is above all to tell a good story. We certainly have a problem in this country. We are not at the forefront of rights. What I can say, however, is that what we have seen is that there is an important part of young people who are at the forefront of the ability to process, reflect and communicate certain feelings to the outside world. Prism he doesn’t want to teach anyone anything but as a person I felt envious of a generation that is so willing to open up, ask questions “.

Prism arrives in streaming on Prime Video, with its 8 episodes all available, Wednesday 21 September. Below you will find the official trailer.

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The article is in Italian

Tags: fluid authentic Italy

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