Up to Down

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Up to Down (Giù dal vivo)

Directed by Nazareno Manuel Nicoletti

  • Italy 2019; 74 min
  • Original version: Italian
  • Genre: Documentary


Naples. Home of the unbowed, of madmen and paupers. A city that refuses to lick anyone’s boots, let alone stoop to pretense. This documentary bad trip takes us on a tour of the city’s dismal eastern suburbs, where poverty manifests itself in environmental brutality: gaping, plaster-deprived buildings, neglected interior courtyards, concrete bleak and ubiquitous. Here we find the homes of the marginalized and rejected: a man, a girl, and a masked boxer – three protagonists yearning for something else, although they’re not quite sure what. Not even echoes of a happier past, remembered in faded footage from family video archives, can lessen the vastness of the social wasteland that is Naples.

Director's Statement

Three years ago I had other ideas: Up to Down had another title, I had identified other protagonists and the stories had another focus. I started with film and photography workshops in Ponticelli, in a day center of mental health. And every morning I passed by San Giovanni, Lotto Zero and the public housing blocks. I was looking for something. However I did not want to talk about mentally ill people, at least as I knew them. There is already too much literature, cinema and television which can cloud one’s judgement of mental health. I wanted reality to betray my feelings on the matter, I wanted to surprise myself finding something different from what I already knew. I met my protagonists and I started rolling, letting myself be guided by my subject’s desires and my instinct. Then, during shooting, I realized the film was becoming something else, much more complex. I let in all I could. The film was about the outskirts. Naples, Milan and even Dortmund all look the same. One might believe it is enough to film these spaces to capture everything: the deprivation, misery and pain, but for me there is something elusive. At every street corner you tell yourself that the next junction is the way out; yet the streets suffocate you and always bring you back to the starting point. Like a maze. At the end, In the film we speak only about ourselves. Today I can say that Up to Down talks about an obsession, perhaps my own obsession. Like in the passage of time, like in the everyday life of my protagonists: we find ourselves floating in the present. Back and forth, as if nothing could interfere. As if everything was a false movement.



    Antonio Borrelli