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The Interview

The son who gives meaning to life

 Il figlio che dà senso alla vita   DCM-011
04 December 2021

A story of fatherhood. A film by director Roberto Andò

The theme of a lost chance at paternity, then unexpectedly “found” in ultra-dramatic circumstances, is at the center of a recent, touching and precious film: Il bambino nascosto [The Hidden Child] by Roberto Andò. The film is based on the novel of the same name by the director himself (La Nave di Teseo, 2020). The protagonist is the very talented Silvio Orlando (see photo), who is a lonely piano teacher, marginalized by his family, and living in an infamous Neapolitan neighborhood.  His life is turned upside down when a young boy barges into his home and asks to be hidden from the Camorra, who are determined to kill him and a boy his same age because they have robbed the mother of a boss. A deep bond is established between the two, beyond schemes and definitions.

Is it correct, Roberto Andò, to speak of rediscovered paternity?

Without a doubt. The professor and the child are both invisibles, who give themselves up to each other and create an atypical family that is based on affection and endowed with an extraordinary strength, with its own legitimacy. The man finds the son he never planned to have, the child discovers a father capable of loving and protecting him while the natural one is ready to hand him over to the criminals.

How did you get the idea for this story?

I got the idea [for the story] from an atrocious event which occurred in 1976 in my Sicily: four children were kidnapped, strangled and thrown into a well by the Mafia after having stolen from the mother of the boss, Nitto Santapaola. For years nothing was heard of the children, yet the most shocking thing was that their fathers had never reported their disappearance.

Why is fatherhood less talked about in cinema than motherhood?

While the mother is considered the generative origin of the world based on the Catholic tradition, of Mary with the Child, the father is a more elusive figure. In the culture of the twentieth century, the father is often absent, or inadequate, or even has a negative connotation.

What are you referring to here?

The father-master, a typology that still resists change in certain traditions.

What are the new fathers like?

More aware, and who listen much more to their children. Their role has been redefined, enriched with nuances. It is as if society has psychoanalyzed itself and the father has thrown off his mask, discovering that he is more aware of his own function. It is a new reality that even the cinema is ready to tell.

by Gloria Satta