An Italian Tale: Enzo D’Alò and his Paper Dreams
If we talk about animation in Italy, Enzo D’Alò is definitely the first name to come up.
If we talk about animation in Italy, Enzo D’Alò is definitely the first name to come up. He wrote and directed cartoons based on different tales and novels from important authors such as Sepulveda and Michael Ende.
His first movie was The Blue Arrow (La Freccia azzurra), based on the tale by Gianni Rodari, that was also imported into the U.S. under the title How The Toys Saved Christmas, with a different plot.
The original version is set during the night before Epiphany, concentrating on the story of a traditional character from Italian folklore: Befana, an old woman who flies on her broom bringing presents and candies to all the children. However, many years ago, as the prologue describes, the Italian children risked getting no presents.
In a small, snow-covered village, on January 5th, all the children are waiting for Epiphany night. Francesco is a poor child who wants as a present a beautiful toy train, called the Blue Arrow, which is on display in the village’s toy shop, as it reminds him of his dead father, a railway worker. But Befana’s personal assistant, an avid man called “Scarafoni”, doesn’t want to donate the toys. So he gives a poison to Befana, making her sick, and sells the toys to the wealthier kids in the village, sending away kids like Francesco.
That night, the toys in the shop come to life and decide to come up with a plan to get the Blue Arrow to Francesco and get all the toys to children who truly deserve them.
This movie required four years of work, and a team of excellent animators such as Giuseppe Laganà, Iginio Straffi (founder of the Rainbow Animation Studios), Claudio Acciari and Piero Tonin. The beautiful drawings and the great soundtrack written by Paolo Conte earned the movie several important rewards such as the Nastro d’Argento and the David di Donatello.