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Stars of dust 

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An incursion into the undergrowth of art and entertainment

 

Are we the architects of our destiny or do the plots of our lives escape us lefting us impotent in the face of fate? Sometimes it happens that, despite a fierce commitment, the results are not those hoped for. In the attempt of having no regrets you can sacrifice your whole life to realize that time is not a good friend for anyone. Riccardo Nola, the main character of Stars of Dust, after a cruel childhood, discovers as a teenager that acting can have therapeutic effects. The undergrowth of the show business, however, turns out to be a dark forest, where you cannot easily orientat yourself. Rick has a natural talent for choosing bad partners and workmates. This gift accompanies him along the path of his artistic career. Actor graduated from the Academy of Dramatic Arts in Rome, his worry is to only work on commercials, due to the bad offices of a manager who brings a nefarious name: Al Sapone. Yet, his friends love him, envy him, confuse his precarious life for adventure. After making little artistic experiences, Riccardo is forced to get by by working in the local market, but you cannot control your heart: being bored, he is charmed by a vague project of his friend and colleague Thomas Albergari of Polonghera, from noble origins and wealthy family. The plan consists in bringing on stage (actually, on the road, on public transport or in the squares), monologues taken from a book about the Expedition of the Thousand of Garibaldi, which led them from the capital to Sicily. While the General managed to unify the country, however, the paths of Thomas and Richard will take different directions.

 

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Dear customer

 

Why is a nickname more indicative compared to our name? Personal details are the result of the choice of others. Sooner or later, when we enter the world of work, those letters will become numbers. On the other hand, a nickname is linked to a really happened event or to a personal trait. In a manner of speaking, it reveals our true identity.

In consumer society, where all echoes are adulterated – Karl Marx is the man of chocolate with the caramel layer and Che Guevara has killed Spider-Man – identity becomes a main topic. Keeping it and being involved as little as possible by the obsession with buying, is a primary matter.

Leopoldo Canapone, protagonist of Dear Customer, every day witnesses the procession of customers infatuated by the commercials and promotional offers. He also knoews a lot about nicknames and, above all, he had an identity. Aspiring actor, he was sure in the end he would enter the Cinecittà Studios. He wrong a few hundred meters. Years later, he stamped the card in the supermarket near to the film establishments, but after all, also it was art because, as a sales clerk, he had to wear a mask and smile to the audience.

 

“ The customer is a fucked customer and not a fucking customer ” – Leopoldo Canapone.

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Cages

 

Are we really free or are we prisoners of ourselves? Reading the reflections of Omar Mumba, the protagonist of this story, we live recluse in our mental restrictions and we stay this way for much of our existence, learning to move in the narrow spaces of those same bars.

In every type of system, there proliferate contradictions that become traditions to be respected. The society in which we live has applied the norm that says we can be happy, even if the others are not: all you have to do is not to be among those others.

It is a simple equation, basically, yet Omar does not seem to learn. It keeps a singular pastime, if we can call it so: keeping inside a big envelope, all the letters coming from those structures and associations present in forgotten places, where every need is absolute. He reads them continuously, even when he is in the hotel where he works and for this reason, he is mocked by colleagues and superiors. The attitude towards the neighbour in difficulty makes him intransigent, but above all leaves him alone. His days pass between listening to U2 music and household chores, work and a recurrent accusation: who gets his boss’ flat tyre?

 

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On my generation

 

 

What is the main activity in our existence? To grow up? Be someone in our society? Find a road of your own?

Whatever this task is, Emilio Santini – the main character of this story – and his friends, do not want to learn to move forward. They hang on, the only street they know is the one of the front door, where they have been living since the ’70s, when they were kids, in a suburb of Rome. On the background of a season marked by social tensions, they observe the flow of life with indifference, convinced that getting busy does not help in this system because nothing can change. They have sterile motivations, they have childish justifications, life is good for them as it is, they have settled in the front row of daily greyness to attend the cycle of seasons.

In the messy chronicle of reported events that lead to the transition from the first to the second republic in Italy, Emilio and his old friends are preparing to live the new course supporting the rise of a rampant politician. Soccer and rock music are their only reasons for living, but they believe they can find in the congressperson Andrea Franzoni, a dear old friend of theirs, a shortcut to the difficulties of human life.

Emilio – a Beatles enthusiast – earns little money as a guitar teacher, the Reserved works when he feels like it, distributing advertising fliers, the Blasphemy works in the deli of a relative, always after 10 a.m. and never past 1 p.m., the Cobra makes a living as a driver in poorly licit works, and Rigatone is a rock music photographer.

There is an unfinished business, however, that everyone has with the politician and this will awaken them from the long sleep, giving an assist for the revenge and stem the maturated cynic.

History of a generation afflicted by Pete Best Syndrome.

 

No one could be John, Paul, George or Ringo, but we all are Pete Best and in one way or another we had to live with what was left“.

Emilio Santini

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