Friendship, adventures, and Vespa rides that help growing up into the person you want to be
According to Cartoon Brew’s reviewer “Luca” is “easily the best Pixar movie since 2017’s Coco.” It is a wonderful coming-of-age story about two Italian sea monsters-boys directed by Enrico Casarosa. The director, born in Genoa, previously directed the short movie “La Luna” (2012), which was released theatrically with Pixar’s “Brave”. He is also known as a storyboard artist for his work on “The Incredibles 2” (2018), “Robots” (2005), and “Up” (2009). His latest feature’s true protagonist is the friendship between Luca and Alberto and its fundamental role in fostering the development of their personality during an adventurous summer. Its beauty is that it can be read at so many different levels that it has been interpreted as a statement on everything from gay love to the experience of refugees.
The story heavily draws on the director’s own childhood experience of growing up on the Italian Riviera with his best friend. Luca is a young boy who ventures beyond his home in the sea with his newfound best friend, Alberto, to the picturesque seaside village of Portorosso. There they meet many humans, some nicer than others, but they feel compelled to hide from them the fact that when they get wet they return to their original sea monsters form. Their deeply-held secret threatens their summer of unforgettable fun, adventures, and Vespa rides.
The story heavily draws on the director’s own childhood experience of growing up on the Italian Riviera with his best friend
During the “Luca” press conference, Casarosa said that he was a shy kid, a little bit sheltered by his family. When he met his best friend at 11, his world opened up. The real-life Alberto was a bit of a troublemaker and didn’t have much supervision. Thus, in those special summers, when he was growing up and finding himself, Casarosa got dragged into trouble. This made him reflect on how much we find ourselves through our friendships, or how much friendships help us find who we want to be. Also, the specific stretch of wonderful coastline has an important symbolic value. It’s rocky, there are mountains and sea. Most towns there hang on for dear life on the rocks and then there’s a lot of cliffs. So, Casarosa kept on thinking about the literal and the metaphor of someone who pushes you off a cliff.
Ilona Catani Scarlett