The Travelers: trailer and preview review of Ludovico De Martino’s Sky Original film

A journey back in time to the fascist period: action, humor and good feelings coming to Sky on November 21 in the sci-fi adventure Travelers. Some of the most intriguing elements of the film evoke various international productions, but in this case we are talking about an Italian science fiction film, and this time it is not a remake (“Sono tornato”) nor a comedy (“C’era una turn the crime “). Aspects such as a sci-fi plot and an original all-Italian story should already have sparked your curiosity, considering also how much science fiction and genre cinema, in its most “entertaining” meaning, have for some time been a rare commodity in local productions.

The idea of ​​contaminating an Italian production with typical elements of genre cinema such as science fiction, adventure and action is something that the director Ludovico Di Martino (La belva) and the screenwriter Gabriele Scarfone (The turning point) have developed in a considerable amount of time. , a period in which the project encountered natural and predictable resistances, not only with respect to wanting to focus on a science fiction and action adventure with young protagonists, but also to the preconception that a film of this kind on paper would have met insurmountable production difficulties. Now in hindsight those potential difficulties that were actually so insurmountable were not, given that Sky and Greenland have supported Di Martino and believed in his concept so much that they bet on it, creating something very enjoyable and with international appeal.

One-way trip to Fascist Italy

Let’s start from the plot that we will bring you back in outline so as not to ruin the vision. Three guys, close friends, Max (Matteo Schiavone), Flebo (Fabio Bizzarro) and Greta (AndreaGaia Wlderk), after the death of the brother of one of them (Gianmarco Saurino in the role of Beo) sneak into a scientific laboratory and involuntarily activate a strange hi-tech machine that will make them travel back in time to Italy in 1939. We are in a period of stability of the fascist dictatorship, with Mussolini gaining support and building his strongman figure in command, with the dictatorship has not yet promulgated the racial laws that will be applied in their most terrifying form starting from 1943. The fascist Italy in which the boys will swoop is therefore not that of war, but the film shows through the character of Lena (Francesca Alice Antonini), a combative girl who hits hard and does not digest the bullying of the “comrades”, an Italy that is already fighting fascism and dying for freedom. But as in any self-respecting time travel plot, the timeline and the future are endangered by two very faithful allies of the Duce: the scientist Dr. Sestrieri (Vanessa Scalera) who intends to change history and Luzio (Fabrizio Gifuni ) the ruthless head of the fascist secret police.

A cast of young heroes and mature villains

The cast of “The Travelers” becomes a bridge between generations, each character represents an age and also a way of acting and characterizing their respective characters: there is the nice and anxious Drip of Bizzarro that we could define a “geek”; Wlderk’s enterprising and wise Greta (both in their first time on the big screen); the strong-willed rebel warrior Lena played by Antonini, an actress who has already trod international sets. The most emotional part of the film is represented by the relationship between the emotional Max played by the newcomer Matteo Schiavone and the protective brother Beo of Gianmarco Saurino, the relationship between the two is something that the actors have revealed to have built off the set, a strong fraternal friendship, a bond that they then managed to transmit even in front of the camera, becoming the most empathic part of the film. As for the inevitable villain sector of the film, as if Mussolini and Black Shirts were not more than enough, they are played by the more mature actors, Dr. Sestrieri played by a Vanessa Scalera, aged thanks to special make-up and Luzio by Roberto Gifuni, actor known to the general public for having played Aldo Moro in Novel of a massacre by Marco Tullio Giordana and Alcide De Gasperi in the TV miniseries De Gasperi, the man of hope by Liliana Cavani. Both Scalera and Gifuni engage in roles that are not easy to manage: Scalera builds her resentful scientist in search of redemption with extreme care, and without the prosthetic make-up becoming an obstacle; Thanks to her peculiar vis recitativa, Gifuni harnesses a “strong” character who seems to recall a fascist version of the film’s mechanized Nazi Karl Ruprecht Kroenen Hellboy by Guillermo del Toro. Gifoni plays a well-rounded villain, disfigured in the face and armed with a sharp katana, Luzio stalks the protagonists, executes those who oppose the regime while dispensing cold terror in the masses.

You want to be American?

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The risk with operations like “The Travelers” is to mimic American productions, fortunately this is not the case; a negative example in this regard is what Gabriele Salvatores did after the discrete The invisible boy with the sequel The Invisible Boy – Second Generation, in which the parody of the superhero genre has been dangerously touched upon. Filone that of superheroes detached from Italian cinema, which Gabriele Mainetti had approached with a certain style a few years earlier with They called him Jeeg Robot. Mainetti will then return with the interesting Freaks Out which shares the setting with “I Viaggiatori”, in the case of Mainetti’s film we are in the middle of the Second World War in a Nazi-Fascist Italy. Mainetti challenges conventions and creates a particular mix, very suggestive and ambitious, even if not completely successful, drawing on the superheroist vein of Marvel’s mutants to hybridize war drama, Italian neorealism, Fellini’s suggestions, in short, a courageous operation but too daring respect. to an Italian cinema not yet ready and practically to be “weaned” compared to fantasy content.

A window from which to look at history

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De Martino with “I Viaggiatori” prefers to kick off a kind of beneficial contamination that includes a science fiction element at the base of an action and adventure film, in which entertainment for all, so well conveyed by American productions, also opens a a window closed for too long on the history of a period that today children do not yet fully understand, but even worse they tend to underestimate. Thus they find themselves in the middle of two opposing visions: one almost good-natured and absolutor compared to what was in fact a ruthless dictatorship, the other that conveys an idea of ​​militant anti-fascism that divides and often does more damage than good intentions and to the sacrifice in life on which it is based. The song “Bella Ciao” is the striking example of something that should belong to everyone and instead becomes the flag of a political party, when it deserves to be considered national heritage. In “I Viaggiatori” there is a very funny scene involving “Bella Ciao”, with a cameo by comedian Dario Vergassola who plays on this dominant and divisive dichotomy. Faced with this confusion, the Roman salute becomes for some a goliardic gesture and characters who wear black shirts and praise the Duce in embarrassing meetings something to be dismissed as “folkloric”. If a film like “The Travelers” with its impeccable adventure film packaging were able to make that part of our history which is too often mystified, less distant and more usable in terms of imagination, then it will have done something more than ‘entertain, the latter element that Di Martino’s film fully fulfills, while at the same time almost completely avoiding some naiveties that are physiological for Italian cinema when approaching a fantastic-style narrative.

A look at a future with great creative potential

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“I Viaggiatori” is a creative-productive operation that should be absolutely reiterated, perhaps expanding the fantasy connotation to several levels. Sky in this sense seems to have taken the right path, see the recent comedy Rosanero which, in the wake of the Wife and husband with Pierfrancesco Favino and Kasia Smutniak, and the addition of a pinch of Big by Tom Hanks, approaches a genre, that of the exchange of bodies (body-swapping), which in American cinema has depopulated by creating classics such as That crazy Friday. “I Viaggiatori” and “Rosanero” are two examples of how slowly genre cinema, once an Italic pride, and the fantastic element turned into a sort of “magical realism”, can find their own space, enriching a production of cinematic at the moment entirely focused on drama and comedy, a panorama that however is expanding thanks also to the productive input of streaming platforms, but which still needs a new creative horizon to focus on and bet on.

The Travelers: trailer and preview review of Ludovico De Martino’s Sky Original film