Those kids who grow up in the shell

Life is a shell, protection and prison of a destiny marked since adolescence, where there is fatigue for everyone and wealth for a few: Great luck. This is the title of the documentary of Alberto Gottardo And Francesca Sironi that plunges into a corner of Italy, apparently out of time but extremely contemporary. They entered the daily life of the children of Goro, in the Ferrara area, who inherit the fate of their fathers: they will be masters or laborers, but always collecting clams, in a world apart where only fishing counts: «We were born in the water», they say. It is not the infinite horizon of the sea, but the flat line of the Po delta dominated by a gray sky.

The protagonists are four sixteen year olds: Alessandro, Gioele, Matteo And Samuel. They are followed for months in the lessons of the professional institute, created to counter the Italian record of early school leaving that is recorded in this extreme and wealthy corner of Emilia. “Passed or failed, I don’t care, I’m going to work anyway,” one of the students replies to the professor: “The first thing they said to me when I got on board? This is the best job ».

The teachers seem missionaries, committed to defeating apathy and disinterest in order to offer him a different idea of ​​existence: “Consider the alternatives, because you never know …”. Classroom teaching of fishing – activities they begin to practice at the age of five – serves to guide them to graduation and above all to help them grow. They ask him about their dreams: «To become a pilot: car, motorbike as long as it has an engine…», replies the student who is an acrobat with an Ape van. But everyone knows they have only one thing in front of them: «I already have the job: the clams».

Great luck – winner of the Solinas Award Best Documentary for Cinema and presented yesterday at Biografilm Italy of Bologna – has the visual strength of a film, without ever aestheticizing the lagoon scenarios: the key is absolute realism, including respect for the local dialect, so much so that it has put the story in the hands of the protagonists.

The director Francesca Sironi

The director Francesca Sironi

Alberto Gottardo, the other author of the docufilm

Alberto Gottardo, the other author of the docufilm

The two authors explain that they have laboriously won their trust, making the camera a neutral observer who for months lived with them between family, school and fishing boats. The result is an extraordinary portrait of that Deep North that is increasingly difficult to understand and of a generation that struggles to look to the future.

Alessandro, Gioele, Matteo And Samuel they each present themselves to the final exam in the contradiction between the enthusiasm of the adolescents and the resignation to a tomorrow that is already their present, in a rich and closed community: one arrives in Goro from a single road surrounded by water; but from there it seems that you can never leave.

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