MANIFESTO

#63

CHANGE OF SPACE

Enea

2024.01.11

Text by Francesca Fontanesi.

Pietro Castellitto’s Enea is a modern epic led by a prophet who, in reality, is the quintessential anti-hero. A genre story without the genre, laden with the universal desire to make sense of one’s existence: this film is the visual metaphor of an invitation to reflect on love as an armistice.

A palm tree shattering against a glass roof. Following the uninterrupted shot that consecrated Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas, Enea, a new story directed by Pietro Castellitto, begins like this: the metaphor of a tale both vital and decadent, and the prelude to a finale that breaks a wall of glass. Enea is the restless prophet of a generation that has already understood everything and, for this reason, knows that the world cannot be changed, at most mocked and derided. He chases the myth that bears his name to feel alive in an immobile era, doing so alongside Valentino, a romantic nihilist dreaming of becoming an aviator. The two, besides beauty, share that period of rebirth and discovery that is youth. Friends forever, victims, and architects of a corrupt world—yet driven by an uncorrupted vitality—they try to find something that makes them feel alive. They end up involved in a drug trafficking operation until Enea, the anti-hero, meets Eva, the female of the original sin. Against the backdrop of this story, which seems to only superficially echo the tropes of a coming-of-age narrative, other characters move: a mother permeated by a sense of defeat, a melancholic father, a dissatisfied brother. A genre story without the genre.

“If the places Enea frequents may be elite, the desire to feel alive is not. It cuts across all generations and environments.”

–Pietro Castellitto

“Making a film is a way to destroy everything you know and put it back together the way you want. Building always requires destruction.”

–Pietro Castellitto

Eva represents the archetype of love. She carries with her the deepest emotional aspect of the narrative and holds significant importance for the evolution of Enea‘s character identity. Dynamics unfold unexpectedly, known only to those who are protagonists: the two meet and love each other, despite the drift of an elusive and evasive personality that is everywhere and nowhere at the same time. The encounter with Eva, with whom Enea tries to create a protected and familial nucleus, is a beam of light that pierces through his existence, putting him at a crossroads, stopping him, forcing him to make sacrifices. Eva is not overwhelmed by the need to fully understand the shadowy area of Enea, but she attempts to offer him an alternative, to pull him out of the aquarium in which he is rooted. Eva has a different temperature, a different frequency, an impulse to try to save others, an impulse that, however, ultimately falls into emptiness. Their encounter is a metaphor for the viewer: love is the only moment when there is a true armistice with life, when we stop fighting and surrender, despite everything that escapes our control.

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