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Italian cinema and millennials: why telling young people is difficult

In this article we will focus on millennials, especially the 90s generation, often left in oblivion for being a median between the world of middle-aged people and digital natives, too young to be taken really seriously by our country-system but at the same time considered too old to interact optimally with the next generation.
Over the past few years, however, our cinema has no longer been able to tell the present in an exhaustive way, sometimes going to mythologize - but unfortunately also systematically ignore - the entire youth context born in the early 90s, in fact forgetting the same economic crisis of 2008-2010, which today's under-30s have experienced on their skin in almost total general indifference. But what are the reasons behind such a drastic choice?

The ghost generation

The first, very simple concept to understand the reasons that led our cinema to undertake such a mandatory choice in not dealing with certain ethical, moral and socio-cultural issues in a clear-cut way responds to a few simple words: analyzing the present without filters or censorship is very difficult as it is sometimes destabilizing.
Precisely for this reason, as already widely examined in the special dedicated to sociological science fiction, numerous creatives have used the frame of the future to deal with the problems of the present, trying in some way to bypass as many problems as possible, including that of censorship.
The focus of the debate, however, must be sought elsewhere, namely in examination of the present simply not implemented by our cinema.
Touching on certain thorny issues, such as that of the aforementioned economic crisis of 2008 in relation to the world of young people who have experienced it in full (remaining in fact overwhelmed), is immediately capable to make us understand the complexity of the topics covered, especially if managed in a serious way.
In fact, even if our cinema has tried to touch on some issues such as brain drain or precariousness through satire and comedy through some very successful works and others a little less, it is first of all necessary to note how much, in terms of concept, treating something like this in a profoundly dramatic and real way can result not very attractive for any production company.

Specifically, if someone today wanted to try their hand at a neorealist tale of the present, with maybe a protagonist born in the 90s, should take into account the enormous structural damage caused by the aforementioned economic crisis which, in fact, has annihilated the possibility of an entire generation to build a livable future at least.
The absence of a real representative voice of a political, cultural, moral nature, capable of really touching the problems of today's generation of under 30s, above all the desertification linked to the labor market, has led to a silent and apocalyptic disaster on practically every social front.
The 90s generation was thus forced to try in every possible way to reinvent herself to find her own place in the world, alone against everything and everyone, simply abandoned by a strongly gerontocratic society that saw in young people the enemy to be defeated and not the ally to support.

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Thus the world of youth had to try to survive in a hyper-competitive society often unable to enhance a whole series of specific skills as well as highly qualified people in their fields of study, forced in many cases to head quickly abroad in the hope of building a future that in our country, unfortunately, it was denied.
If we think about it, this is a very difficult scenario to show through a real context but, perhaps, a duty to deal with the expressive medium of cinema as well, trying to highlight, not necessarily through a comic, sunny and light-hearted register but also realistic, tragic and brutal, the simple reality of the facts, present in Italy for more than ten years and not a few months.

Everything is alright

Given the difficulty in dealing with certain absolutely thorny, difficult and highly stratified themes, not only in the cinematographic field but in practically any multimedia context, inevitably the narration of some problems has been somewhat sweetened, deleted, ignored, trying to sell to the public a youthful world crystallized over time, idealized even in a cloying way, capable of existing only when it comes to sentimental dynamics (of adolescent matrix) or similar topics that are exaggeratedly obvious.
From this point of view, Under the Riccione sun, 2020 film directed by Younuts! on a subject by Enrico Vanzina, despite a technical sector that is actually satisfactory, a juvenile story is exaggeratedly linked to the abused theme of adolescent love.
The problem does not lie in the specific genre, addressed to a segment of the public that perhaps could also find it interesting, as to the modus operandi of many of our local productions in wanting to portray the world of youth (90s but also 2000s) in the exact same stereotyped way, systematically eliminating from the cauldron whatever has happened since the beginning of the third millennium onwards, presenting a series of characters all the same immersed in an alternative reality where precariousness does not exist.

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The same brain drain by Paolo Ruffini, a film released in 2013, it actually turned out to be an immense wasted opportunity, giving life to a work once again victim of the usual clichés, moreover, without even a wisely exploited comic / satirical dimension.
Precarious than the enlightened one Sydney Sibilia has decided to put the spotlight through a trilogy, that of I stop when I want, well written and shot, sometimes able to surprise the viewer even with action touches amalgamated with the main events.
The work is well done also for the way in which the same world of the young (or perhaps the differently old) has been treated, showing a whole series of brilliant university and academic researchers forced to turn into smart drug dealers to try to make ends meet.
There are numerous hilarious sequences but at the same time capable of making us reflect on certain aspects related to the work context that are anything but exciting, as in the scene in which we see the anthropologist Andrea De Sanctis do an interview to get hired at a junkyard trying in every way not to make the potential employer understand that he is a graduate, in reality a real note of infamy and not of merit.

Yet, despite even virtuous examples, the general impression is that our cinema has, at least up to now, systematically tried to ignore even just the possibility of giving voice to the 90s generation.
The socio-cultural problems connected to it serve as a background to then talk about some other type of story, but we should also focus on the drama, on social injustices, on the debasement of individuals and on the fact that too often the world of young people is simply an agglomeration of individuals unable to reason, to produce, to create, to live if not in function of the disengagement, of the futile, of the jubilation.

Our cinema, first of all, should therefore try to make an immense effort to get out from the rhetoric of the youth story based on the mood of everything will be fine (because things have actually gone very badly for everyone for several years), putting aside for a moment the stereotypical and glossy image that we have continued to see for too long to try to tread our hand (even sometimes in a brutal way) on the simple topical, anything but idyllic.

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Linda Hopkins

Linda is one of the oldest contributors to Sunriseread. She has a unique perspective with regards to business and technology. She aims to empower the readers with the delivery of well-written news pieces, and most importantly, she always tries to bring the news quicker to the readers.

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