From Theater to Cinema

Since its earliest beginnings, to generate its products – films – cinema has always draw from a variety of sources: original ideas conceived expressly for a film but also texts in different languages, like novels and short stories (literary language) or plays, comedies and tragedies (theatrical language). In the first case – an original idea – you make the film and that’s it. In the second – an existent work – you “transpose” it from one language to another and the film is thereby “kin” to the work from which it originated, respecting most of the guidelines of the narration and the “spirit” behind it but not necessarily its meaning (mostly yes but sometimes no), so the film is a work similar but not identical to its source because its actors have used linguistic (expressive) codes that are totally different. Why is that? It’s a pretty insidious question because you could simply answer “because it’s nice to do”, because the work is a work of “transposing” not simply “translating” but creating something new, an intellectual and artistic challenge, an adventure of the spirit. It’s also because a beautiful idea can live twice and differently. And perhaps survive oblivion for a great deal longer.
But what does the moviegoer know of this adventure? Practically nothing: he or she simply watches the film, which is only the final result of a long and laborious process. If. Instead, he or she could be a protagonist in this adventure, could personally participate in this creative process then certainly he/she would be enriched with new awareness and knowledge and therefore of further elements with which to enjoy the film.
And that’s what happened last summer, in the streets and squares of Locarno and on the woody slopes of Monte Verità when a group of adolescents studying at the Teatro del Gatto drama school in Ascona – guided by a little group of young film school students at the ECAL in Lausanne - reinterpreted in a cinematic key a play that they had helped write and then performed on the stage. They had to “reinvent” themselves and deeply relive their characters, becoming involved in the very particular timing and shooting of a film; they took days (and nights) to do it and then saw themselves on the big screen for a surprisingly short and yet intense and totalizing time. And the ECAL students got personally involved in rewriting a play, in reinventing it, in its practical realization, experiencing the direct relationship between people concerned with the same artistic outcome and the marvelous labor of final editing.
Young protagonists. Young people who will never watch a play or a movie with the same eyes again. Young people who’ve been enriched.




by Laura Rullo

“Homines et Bestiae” was created at the Teatro del Gatto in Ascona as part of the 2012 Drama Education Project (Progetto di Educazione Teatrale 2012) for elementary and middle schools and for the Canton Language Festival (Festival delle Lingue Cantonale). It is a play involving kids from 11 to 15 in a multi-lingual work that imaginatively deals with the exploitation of natural resources and its possible consequences: with the onset of the industrial age human behavior towards nature took on forms and dimensions that nowadays are cause for alarm. The story is mainly an allegory of humans-animals forced to flee en masse to escape the neglect and exploitation of the earth and find a place in which they can survive.




by Filippo Demarchi

In a world devoid of plants and animals Nino, a 13-year-old boy, struggles with himself about taking responsibility for being the grandchild of the person who caused nature’s extinction. His companions tease him, deriding him for his forebears. Nino refuses to listen, until one day he encounters Mother Nature herself. She offers him the wonderful opportunity of meeting his grandfather. Nino thus commences a journey into the past, discovering plants and animals and above all the true identity of his grandfather. In the end Nino is obliged to make a choice: to continue to struggle or…? A journey of initiation and self-discovery twixt realism and fantasy.

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