I am so excited! Shooting of the Ischia scenes in the second season of RAI/HBO’s ‘L’amica Geniale’ (My Brilliant Friend) starts. While last year shooting concentrated in Ischia Ponte and Barano, this year scenes will also be shot in Forio. Two episodes will be dedicated to Lila and Lenu’s summer holiday in Ischia.
In the second volume of Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan quartet Storia del nuovo cognome (Story of a new name), thanks to Lila, Elena spends an entire summer on the island. Lila, Elena, along with Lila’s sister-in-law Pinuccia and Lila’s mother, Nunzia, spend two months in a rented house in Cuotto, a tiny hamlet in the hills near Forio. The husbands, Stefano and Rino, work in Napoli during the week and come and stay with their wives on the weekends. Luckily for Elena, Nino Sarratore, is also spending the summer in Ischia, staying at his friend’s house in Forio.
This was during the 60s and Ischia was living its glorious transformation into a dazzling tourist destination. Thousands of tourists were coming daily to the island. But this group don’t seem to take part in the lively festivities. They spend lots of time on the beach, riding scooters, eating ice-cream, and going for walks. There are long, lazy days and the actions seem tame, but underneath there is a lot going on. In the book, we get to view up close the relationship dynamics between the husbands and wives, jealousy and competition among the friends, the insecurity (or confidence) of the men when they’re outside of their normal surroundings, the freedom the young wives feel when their husbands are away during the week, and the creeping realisation among the young women that their men, perhaps considered rich in their isolated working-class world, did not act like the other wealthy and refined men they came across. Perhaps Elena is the only one who has a clear understanding that life is a lot bigger than what they know.
I took a walk around the centre of Forio today to get a glimpse of the film set along via Roma. Is this where Stefano and Rino tease Nino for not being able to ride a scooter and for just having his head in the books? Or where Donato Sarratore tells Lenu that the mirror is the last thing that she can trust? Or where Lenu shouts Nino’s name and waits for him to come up to the window?
I definitely don’t want to wish time away, especially now that the days have finally gotten warm and it feels like summer is almost here, but… I’m looking forward to the autumn when the next season of My Brilliant Friend airs to see Ischia in the 1960s come to life.