Corsairs, sultans and bajaderas populate a wild stretch of the Po River bank in Turin. A pirate ship floats on the river. A man calls in vain for help from those characters: his interlocutors are inert, floppy silhouettes of colored cardboard. It is yet another theater, the last, for Italy's greatest adventure storyteller. That secret corner of the Po he has set up himself with the complicity of his wife Ida. Now, however, a double reckoning looms over him, the exhaustion of his creativity and the realization that he has destroyed his wife's life, perhaps even infecting her with an unmentionable disease. Ida was admitted to the asylum the day before. The only human being to whom he can confess is a civic guard who has come down to the river to persuade him to unload his abusive theater. But in turn the guard will turn out to be nothing more than a cardboard cutout. The next morning, Salgari goes up into a hillside forest armed with a razor and kills himself.

An imaginary variation on the last hours of life of Emilio Salgari, the greatest adventure writer in Italian literature. It takes freely from the biography "Emilio Salgari, the Father of Heroes" by Giovanni Arpino and Roberto Antonetto, the latter my grandfather. I am personally very attached to this project because it stems from a short subject that my grandfather, a scholar and biographer of Salgari, wrote for me several years ago. He told me, "If you really become a director I would like you to make this film." He, with his Salgari monograph, had a wide critical echo, settling an ideal debt to a character whose real life was probably the most exciting of the novels invented by his boundless imagination. And I similarly intend to settle the ideal debt I owe to my grandfather, who passed on to me a passion for this craft.

Giulio Maria Cavallini
Giulio Maria Cavallini
Giulio Maria Cavallini
Director of photography
Film Editor
Davide Miele
Set Design
Costume Design
Original Music
Altri credits

Federico Lagna (Supervisione post-produzione)

Cast and characters

Valerio Binasco, Pier Luigi Pasino, Francesca Ciocchetti, Maria Laila Fernandez

Production Director
Organizzatore generale
con il sostegno di Film Commission Torino Piemonte - Short Film Fund - dicembre 2023
Last update: 18 March 2024