Set in a beautiful coastal town on the Italian Riviera, the new Disney and Pixar animated film Luca tells the story of the passage from childhood to adolescence of a boy who lives an unforgettable summer with his best friend, with whom he shares a secret – Both are sea monsters from a world that lies just below the surface of the sea. Directed by Oscar nominee Enrico Casarosa (La Luna, 2012), Luca is emerging as one of the best films, as it addresses issues such as acceptance, the importance of identity and feeling represented. Along with other media, we spoke with the Italian director through Zoom. The film arrives at Disney + this June 18.
Is it true that Luca is an autobiography of yours?
Yes, I kind of portray the childhood I had in Genoa, where I grew up with my best friend Alberto. We both felt that we didn’t fit in much and I thought this was an open metaphor, portraying how these guys feel differently. Luca finds himself, his identity, he wanted to talk about this period before falling in love, first to talk about being loved and accepted.
It is a personal film, it also takes place in Italy.
It did feel personal, but also universal: a child who takes chances the first time, who leaves his family trying to figure out who he is, away from fear, letting those influences reach him. But he also lives difficult times because bullying appears when he still does not know who you are. And it was interesting to put the story in this location from when I was a child, it is like a love letter to this area that I miss so much. This movie has been a wonderful way to bring my home back.
Luca touches on other subtopics such as the importance of knowledge.
There are different ways in which we have approached this, one of them is that not knowing can lead us to be afraid. In Luca, that is the relationship that humans have against monsters that makes them not understand each other, but Luca is curious with the world, he is not afraid to interact in these two communities. For me it is that, how we treat that part of the discovery and how the discovery benefits. But there is also the fact of imagination, when you do not know, you begin to imagine. Not everything is knowledge and science, it is also fantasy. For this film we thought a lot about true connections, friends not only see you, but hug you and encourage you to follow your dreams.
The issue of disability is also addressed. How important is it that Disney Pixar is caring about these topics?
Representation is important, just as much more has to be done to make it grow. I think we have accomplished a lot of wonderful things in this movie on the subject of diversity, Disney Pixar is doing great projects and we are excited to be a part of them. We have grown differently, with other approaches and we hope that this will change. It is very important that more and more voices are cultivated.
What could be the role of cinema in this difficult time?
I feel like there are two layers. On the one hand, you can help us laugh, enjoy, have a good time, and on the other, not everything can be an escape from reality. We not only make a person laugh, but we make them feel emotions and wonder about their behavior. I think it is important to talk with children, we have a task to discover how to inspire new generations in the face of difficult times that we live.