“I 400 giorni: funamboli e maestri” by Emanuele Napolitano and Emanuele Sana

Article by Elisa Gnani

Translation by Francesca Borgheresi

A documentary about young people for young people, I 400 giorni: funamboli e maestri (“The 400 days: funambulists and masters”) shows the (first) 400 days in the professional life of twenty-four young actors and actresses from all around Italy. This documentary film shows how they share fears, expectations, interests and hopes, like young Antoine does – the protagonist of the famous film The 400 Blows by François Truffaut, who not by chance is commemorated here. 

I 400 giorni: funamboli e maestri, directed by Emanuele Napolitano and Emanuele Sana, is presented as an out of competition film at the 41st edition of Torino Film Festival, in the Ritratti e Paesaggi (“Portraits and Landscapes”) section. In this documentary they wanted to show the “tour of talent” – the casting tour by the DO agency – which concerned the most important Italian cities, starting right from Turin. It’s a film that mixes a collection of reports by famous Italian actors and actresses (provided by Istituto Luce and Cineteca di Bologna) and brand-new footage. The aim is to show the professional and personal growth of these selected young actors and actresses, following them for more than a year: it’s a 400 days journey indeed, which starts in autumn and finishes the following year at Christmas.

This is a film about being actors, a job which is similar to the one of funambulists, – just as the title suggests – always holding a precarious balance between success and failure. In between these two ends there is a rope – on which the stories of the protagonists lay – a thin line that they bravely try to walk on without falling. The crucial ingredients to avoid the abyss – besides a decent agent – are dedication and passion. In fact, it’s not all about actors. This film talks about agents too – specifically about Daniele Orazi and his DO agency – a professional figure who rarely appears on screen – except for the Sky production series Call my agent – but on whose work depends the beginning and success of actors’ careers. Therefore, the agent turns out to be the meeting point between new and old generations, between emerging artists and big festivals. That’s a key which can not only unlock doors but also open them wide, in the best-case scenario.

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