#11 – ‘Tutto Può Succedere’, Another Good Chance
Yes, apparently Rai is trying to play the diversity card with a certain regularity, in this 2015 that is coming to en end. Let’s hope it is just a beginning of a new trend that it can have a knock-on effect on the competitors, Mediaset and Sky. For the moment, just a few more days are left for the premiere of a new TV series, Tutto può succedere (Anything May Happen), produced by Cattleya and directed by Lucio Pellegrini (Now or Never) and Alessandro Angelini (L’aria salata). Sunday 27 December flagship Rai 1 will air in prime time the first episode of what has been presented officially, also by Variety, as the first international adaptation of hit TV show Parenthood, created by Jason Katims, than ran to more than one hundred episodes in the US on NBC from 2010 to 2015.
This time again, as in È arrivata la felicità (That’s Happiness), the large choral cast includes also a black Italian actress, Esther Elisha. It is really a good opportunity for this 35 years old performer, with a solid acting preparation and a few brilliant supporting roles in recent film productions but still waiting to be discovered by mainstream audience. Many Italian viewers learned to know her through the character of Jasmina, a Moroccan girl fighting for her freedom against her family, in teen comedy Last Minute Marocco (2007) by Francesco Falaschi. It was her very first role in a movie, but at that date Esther not only had appeared in an episode of the popular TV show Don Matteo, alongside Iris Peynado, but had graduated in acting at prestigious Civica Scuola d’Arte Drammatica Paolo Grassi in Milan, followed some workshops in acting and dancing and had played in several theatrical productions.
After that, Esther could prove her talent in the role of Suad, a Nigerian sex worker, in Là-bas – Educazione criminale by Guido Lombardi, premiered and awarded as Best First Film at Venice Film Festival in 2011. She had interesting roles also in the second film by Lombardi, Take Five (2013), but also in other, independent Italian films: Nottetempo (Francesco Prisco, 2013), Neve (Stefano Incerti, 2014) and Pitza e datteri (Fariborz Kamkari, 2015). In family drama Tutto può succedere, Esther plays the role of Feven, a young violin player of Eritrean ancestry who reappears again after five years and reveals to the youngest and immature son of Ferraro family, Carlo (Alessandro Tiberi), that a one night stand was enough to conceive the little Robel (Sean Ghedion Nolasco). The frame set of the character appears rather soap-operatic, but since we know her talent and her engagement to overturn the stereotypes connected with black (and female) characters, no doubt she will get the best of it. Further, this narrative has at least the virtue of relaunching the topics of mixed couple in contemporary Italian society where È arrivata la felicità ended, i.e. after the birth of a mixed-race child.
Tutto può succedere will be aired starting from 27 December for 13 evenings (26 episode of 50 minutes). This TV series is to tell the story of a large family, the Ferraros, who live in a big house with a garden outside Rome, where everybody meet to tell about themselves and to confront. A place where to argue, laugh, cry, love and hate, that is the everyday life of a numerous family, where routine is not to say lack of surprises, turns of events and upheavals. In the large cast, stand out the veterans Licia Maglietta (Emma Ferraro) and Giorgio Colangeli (Ettore Ferraro), who co-star with Maya Sansa (Sara Ferraro), Ana Caterina Morariu (Giulia Ferraro), and Cristina (Camilla Filippi). On the website of the miniseries several clips and photos are already available. The first backstage (05:24) features also briefly Feven/Esther and her storyline.
Cattleya is one of the most consistent company in the Italian film and TV industry since late 1990s. Among its most major hits are films like Romanzo criminale (Michele Placido, 2005), Benvenuti al sud (Luca Miniero, 2010) and Si accettano miracoli (Alessandro Siani, 2015), and TV series Romanzo criminale (2008) and Gomorra (2014), both directed by Stefano Sollima. In the past, several films faced issues of migration and multicultural society. Let’s remind only Quando sei nato non puoi più nasconderti (Marco Tullio Giordana, 2005), Lezioni di cioccolato and its sequel (2007, 2011), Bianco e Nero (Cristina Comencini, 2008), La nostra vita (Daniele Luchetti, 2010), Terraferma (Emanuele Crialese, 2011), Cosimo e Nicole (Francesco Amato, 2012). Sometimes screenwriters and directors didn’t live up to the complexity of the issues involved (Un altro mondo, Silvio Muccino, 2010) or leaned on stereotypes or devices completely incongruous with progressive premises like blackface (La scuola più bella del mondo, Luca Miniero, 2014) but Cattleya ultimately offered opportunities for several Afrodescendant actors to emerge, Italian (Letizia Sedrick), Italian-based (Miloud Moulad Benamara, Awa Ly, Souleymane Sow), or Anglo-French (Nabiha Akkari, Eriq Ebouaney, Aurelien Gaya, Aïssa Maïga, Hassani Shapi).
Strong wings and ability to fly were still there, Esther just needed a good springboard. Let’s cross fingers for her and for the future of Afrodescendant actors and actresses, particularly those, like her, who chose to enter the world of Italian showbiz after a diploma in a reference acting school and after training on stage.
Contributors: Leonardo De Franceschi
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