Director’s notes of “Ratavoloira”

Director's notes by

“Ratavoloira” in the local dialect means bat. It had been years that I dreamed of giving life to a superhero who embodied the likeness of my favorite comic book character embedded in the personality of my city, Turin. This is why the short film winks at the well-known superhero films, but has typically Italian connotations. He distances himself from Hollywood ironically, without however falling into parody: he could be defined as a “Spaghetti Cinecomic”. This film also wants to explore the theme of the use of language and dialect in mass culture linked to the world of superheroes and entertainment for children in general. In 1998, a team of researchers from Tufts University highlighted with a study that the vast majority of antagonists in comic and cartoon stories have a foreign accent, particularly Germanic, Slavic or British English, while the henchmen speak mainly with dialects. and cadences associated with classes with low socioeconomic status such as Italian-Americans, Latin-Americans or Eastern Europe. Often these linguistic traits bring with them cultural discriminations with the classic contrast of “like us” to “different from us” that have been superficially continued for years because “it is convention, the public recognizes the code”. For my part, I tried to shed light on this theme with irony by writing some unskilled workers who speak Argentine Spanish, despite the fact that the mind of the crime is that of an Italian. Another ironic note that gives the film a comedy color is that of having the hero Ratavoloira speak in the local language, the Turin dialect. The choice, however, also has a deeper meaning: the dialect as a refuge from a new world that disorients, because he has changed the cards on the table without having invented the rules of a new game for now. A gloomy Turin is threatened by a megalomaniac artist who, after years of failure, has taken on the role of a terrorist and by a woman of power corrupted to the core in a creation that mixes comedy, thriller and action. The protagonist is an engineering student of the Polytechnic, a pole of scientific excellence, who puts himself in his way at the service of the city to protect it, emblematically becoming its symbol: an ironic variation on a thread that goes from Don Quixote to a modern “vigilante”. There are many sources for this project, in addition of course to Batman (in particular Batman Returns from 1992 and Batman Begins from 2005): They called him Jeeg Robot (2015) by Gabriele Mainetti and Kick-Ass (2010) by Matthew Vaughn. But also the Italian-style Poliziottesco cinema, a film genre of police environment characterized by numerous scenes of brutal action and violence, street atmospheres, lonely, intrepid, tenacious and vengeful policemen with plots that sometimes take their cue from the police stories of the time , developing them in an emphatic, demagogic or comic key, like Torino violenta (1977) by Carlo Ausino; Italian crime film, a genre born in Italy in the 1960s, which mixes thriller atmospheres and themes typical of horror cinema such as the presence of the unknown in a hostile sense (such as forces, events, characters of evil or supernatural origin) in the everyday world and that does not preclude slasher drifts, such as The Girl Who Knew Too Much (1963) by Mario Bava. And again Zombi (1978) by George A. Romero and the novel The twenty days of Turin (1977) by Giorgio De Maria.

Giulio Maria Cavallini

Director’s notes of “Ratavoloira”