THE RECYCLING MAN, 14min., Italy
Directed by Carlo Ballauri
In a poor and overpopulated, yet lonely suburban neighborhood, Jacob, a boy immobilized in a wheelchair, fights boredom by spying on his neighbors across the courtyard, while his mother, Valery, aggressively tries to convince Maria, her pregnant best friend, to have an abortion. Sarah, a girl of Jacob's age, spots the spying boy out and says hello with a piece of paper. The new friendship is, however, suddenly interrupted when a menacing garbage man approaches Sarah and attacks her from behind with a screwdriver.
Director Biography - Carlo Ballauri
Carlo was born in Genova, Italy. He is a writer, producer and director based in Los Angeles and Rome.
He became interested in movies and narrative entertainment from a very young age. His objective has always been to create worlds through the use of different media. He moved to Rome to study Marketing and Communication at the University of Rome La Sapienza, and graduated summa cum laude in Communication Science. His thesis’ focus was on the “Intermediality in David Cronenberg’s movies: the Videodrome and eXistenZ cases”. While attending university, he produced and directed several shorts.
To proceed with his studies, Carlo moved to Los Angeles, where he attended UCLA to specialize in film production and the NYFA for improving his filmmaking skills. In Los Angeles, Carlo experimented with the use of 16 and 35mm in various art projects, while kickstarting a production team to direct music videos and commercials.
In 2012, Carlo moved back to Italy with his newly founded production firm, I Cavalieri della Notte S.r.l. and the commercials creative factory LITTLEBIG. In 2014, He produced and directed La Diva, selected and awarded at numerous domestic and international festivals, including the San Antonio Film Festival in Texas, the LA Indie Film Festival in Los Angeles, the Salento International Film Festival in Italy, the Festival de la Luz Bogota in Colombia, the Carmarthen Bay Film Festival in Wales and others.
Carlo is now developing in Italy a feature film for theatrical release, Cicale (Crickets), using his words (A dark comedy between Fargo and Reservoir Dogs with a pinch of Parasite and Trainspotting). He's also developing his first TV series The Recycling Man, for which he has produced the twelve minutes proof of concept, The Recycling man short film, which has been showcased in numerous festivals around the world(Fantasia, POFF, Leeds International, Macau International, etc.) and has won several prizes as the Melies D'argent at the TRIESTE SCIENCE FICTION FEST, the Aluminum Griffon at THE GIFFONI film festival and the Italian public television prize as best film, RAI CINEMA AWARD, at RIFF IN ROME. The short film was also selected and awarded as the best Italian short film of the year with the best musical score by Oscar winner Giuseppe Tornatore at the ROMA CREATIVE CONTEST.
The right, or in some cases the duty, of having children has been professed and supported by religions, philosophies, and common thought for centuries.
Moreover, it is a commonly shared idea that women eventually develop a biological sense of maternity and a “crave for breeding”, which some won’t hesitate to call natural and scientifically proven.
In men, even if it’s less ubiquitous, a similar psychological urge for procreation is socially accepted and encouraged, as an instinct and a “responsibility” towards the continuation of the species. The Recycling Man wants to examine how the common attitude toward procreation would change in a world that, in a not so distant future, will face an overpopulation risk.
Although there is some indication that the global population growth is slowing down in certain areas, (there are even groups sustaining that the worldwide population is declining...) our numbers, as the UN project, will continue to grow for the foreseeable future (https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/un-population-projection-medium-variant). Also, as parts of the planet will become inhabitable because of climate change, overcrowding in certain areas of the world might become inevitable.
Notwithstanding, I've chosen genre and the overpopulation trope as an extraordinary distorting and magnifying lens to speak of some very ordinary problems about parenting that are becoming already very disturbing nowadays, as are the objectification and mechanization of human relationships. Restrictions on women’s choice regarding pregnancy have appeared again and again in history, pushing in both directions (just think of the menstrual police during Ceaușescu’s regime in Romania, or the one-child policy in China), and it’s not unlikely that laws prohibiting procreation for some fraction of the population might be instated.
In a world with an ever-growing population and with fewer resources due to climate change, some questions are becoming ever more important to ask:
beyond the preservation of the human species, do we really need children to live as psychologically balanced human beings? Could children somehow be substituted? Is there a way to technologically simulate perhaps the most real and pure form of love, the one between a mother and her child?
Giovanni Gualdoni - writer
Benjamin Ainsworth - Jacob
Virginia Newcomb - Valery
Terence Anderson - Doyle
Ines Milans - Maria
Valentina Filippeschi - Sarah