Luca is one of the few films that offers a sentimental education for boys

Luca is one of the few films that offers a sentimental education for boys
Luca is one of the few films that offers a sentimental education for boys

Luca – Disney +

Preschool boys and girls are wary of sharp features. Give it the hollow faces of Sleeping Beauty and you will get indifference, or even terror. Not surprisingly, the mascot par excellence of early childhood is Mickey Mouse: three circles, one for the face, two for the ears.

The cartoons are basically divided into lines and circles, slender and slender figures, others massive and round. Elsa’s Frozen e Vayana di Oceania they therefore belong to two different camps, and not only because one lives in the cold and the other in the heat, but because they are one the subtle icy beauty dissociated from the world, the other the solid beauty that prefers aggregation to solitude. So when other mothers ask me if they can show Luca to their two or three year old sons and daughters, the answer is definitive: you have to! They are round, impossible for a little one not to like it.

Luca Paguro is a monster who lives in the depths of the sea off the coast of Liguria together with his mother Daniela, his father Lorenzo and his grandmother. He is a shepherd boy, his flock is made up of somewhat dull fish. Like Ariel de The little Mermaid, Luca fantasizes a lot about what is out of the water, but unlike the siren he is scared of it because his mother has always warned him about the dangers he may encounter. Even Triton, after all, forbids his daughter to rise to the surface and as always in children’s stories, whether written or drawn, the parents represent that necessary boundary that the children cannot wait to cross and, when they do, they will have reached the independence and therefore maturity.

The meeting with Alberto Scorfano, another sea monster of the same age, will give Luca the opportunity to explore the world outside the water, where sea monsters magically transform into human beings. Thus we discover that while at the bottom of the sea time never flows, on the shores of a small village near the Cinque Terre, between Tellaro and Porto Venere, it is the 1950s and we are in Portorosso. The two children, former monsters, find themselves among the things of the human world, fall in love with the Vespa, eat pasta with pesto, become part of a small family formed by the adventurous little girl Giulia, by the imposing father Massimo, fisherman and hunter of sea monsters, and from Machiavelli, a hilarious cat who is the only one who suspects that the two children are not who they say they are.

A cardboard that opens with A kiss at midnight of the Cetra Quartet (already protagonist of other sound forays into the animated world with Dumbo), can only anticipate great beauties, including: the soundtrack thanks to which our children discover the existence of phenomenal songs and singers, realizing for example that Long live the pappa col pomodoro by Rita Pavone is more exciting than Nonna Pina’s tagliatelle; the material consistency of objects, where Massimo’s health shirts really seem to be made of that wool that pinches and the trenette with pesto are rough like home-made ones.

But one thing is the most beautiful of all: the friendship between Luca and Alberto. Male protagonists in cartoons are hard to find like chestnuts in marron glacé ice cream, for some time the vast majority of cartoons have as protagonists young princesses and women who manage to overcome adversity and somehow find their way.

There are only two prominent male characters in the great Disney colossals: Aladdin and Hercules, two heroes, one in search of lost treasures, the other of their identity. Then there are the non-human but animal male characters (Lion King) and the machines (Cars). Much has been done in recent decades to tell women, help them sharpen their conscience, it can be said that female culture has never been as dense as in the last fifty years. Men were left behind, perhaps because it was always believed that they were more accomplished than women and therefore a universal narrative was not necessary for them.

In short, watching cartoons does not seem to require any education for males. There is a lot of talk, and rightly so, about male violence and what can be done to defuse it. The only effective way is to provide the foundation for a sentimental and emotional upbringing, considered in the past years to be things by females that males had to keep away from. The only healthy way we know of to educate is to tell stories, to create modern mythologies in which men can recognize themselves and thanks to which to evolve, to move further and further away from that wretched patriarchy of which they were the first to become victims.

Men are finally walking, after centuries of standing still, forced to contend with surreal stories of Marvel heroes who conquer evil only if protected by a mask or a fireproof suit. And the fallibility? What about vulnerability? Fortunately, today there are poetic stories, rich in meaning like Luca able to provide a generational mirror that does not return a distorted image, but a story of our time where friendship is able to get you out of the water and make you walk with your legs and to cry, when on the platform you greet your friend who is leaving for a new life.

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