Elsa is 17 years old and has a life to live. But in the midst of a rowing race, she collapses on the oars. The diagnosis is merciless: she has leukemia. Yet, she hasn’t truly begun her adolescence.
Elsa is 17 years old and has a life to live. But in the midst of a rowing race, she collapses on the oars. The diagnosis is merciless: she has leukemia. Yet, she hasn’t truly begun her adolescence. To save her, she urgently needs a bone marrow transplant. But the only possible donor is someone whose name she doesn’t even know, much less where he is located: her father. Accompanying her on the journey to find this man is the outgoing and irreverent Edo, a peer she met at the hospital. There seems to be nothing that connects Elsa and Edo except for the fact that they have the same illness, from which he is almost cured. Or, at least, that’s what he told her. This is the story told in the film Noi anni luce, directed by Tiziano Russo, premiered at #Giffoni53 (out of competition).
Carolina Sala, Rocco Fasano, Fabio Troiano, Laila Al Habash, Adalgisa Manfrida and Caterina Guzzanti are the main cast of the film, distributed by Notorius, which enjoys the support of AIL (Italian Association against Leukemia, Lymphomas and Myeloma). The national president of AIL, Giuseppe Toro, met the Giffoners after the screening of the feature film. Along with him and the cast, Autilia Stefania Ceglia, a juror from the +18 workshop who battled acute leukemia. She shared her journey with the young participants and how she has returned to her life after overcoming the disease. “Guys, it’s a film we made with a lot of heart – said Tiziano Russo to the Giffoners – It’s a film that speaks to you too”. Rocco Fasano echoed: “We were both moved and had fun making the film; if you feel even 10% of what we felt, we have succeeded”. Among the actors, there is a Giffoni Film Festival juror, 10-year-old Marcello Lombardo. “I always call him Mattia – Russo smiles – because that’s his name in the film”.
At the heart of the film, and also discussed in the afternoon conference, is the theme of illness. The intrusion it makes into a person’s life (and those around them) and the change of perspective it can bring, especially when it affects a young person in the prime of their life. “We have to deal with the idea of death; it’s inevitable – explains Fasano – If a diagnosis of leukemia is given to a young person, the confrontation with death comes earlier. And this is what the protagonists of the film do”. Sala adds: “The news of the illness comes at a moment when you don’t expect to face death. This leads Elsa to change her perspective”. Then, Tiziano Russo says: “I don’t know at what age one stops feeling immortal. When Elsa no longer feels immortal, she starts asking questions about her family, her future”. In short, the protagonist “starts asking herself all those questions that contribute to giving meaning to life”. But, what is essential with illness? “Trust. Trust is essential – explains Carolina Sala. The final message is one of hope: “These young people – says Laila Al Habash – never stop enjoying life”.