Jeeg Robot, an Italian superhero
Gabriele Mainetti's debut with a full-lenght film offers a genuine interpretation of the superheroes genre.
At Tor Bella Monaca, the rougher suburbs of Rome, Enzo Ceccotti (Claudio Santamaria) finds out he has developed superpowers after falling in a barrel of radioactive waste. The daughter of his neighbour, Alessia (Ilenia Pastorelli), sees him as a personification of Jeeg Robot (from the Japanese anime TV series Steel Jeeg, 鋼鉄ジーグ), on a mission to save humanity.
Gabriele Mainetti‘s debut with a full-length film (after a couple of interesting short films, Basette and Tiger Boy, also inspired by anime series) offers a genuine interpretation of the superheroe genre.
They Call Me Jeeg veers away from Hollywood blockbusters’ rules, and uses them merely as a starting point towards a humorous and personal interpretation.
Mainetti’s approach seizes the audience’s attention by outlining and exploring the human nature of this unusual superhero.
Yes, it is precisely the human dimension of the superhero that emerges and makes the story plausible. Enzo is rough, he mumbles, and he could stay all day home eating yogurt and watching porn movies. He is always pissed off and has no real purpose, if not an immediate one: so he robs an ATM to get more yogurt and more porn, satisfying only his basic human and primary needs. Afterwards, he is carried away by the events, just as happens in life… We can relate to his flaws, to the fact that he is just another person and not necessarily the good guy. He is one of us, except for the fact that he has an exceptional force and cannot be killed by bullets.
He finds his purpose in others, in Alessia, who is as broken as he is, and, as any superhero worthy of this name, in his nemesis, The Gypsy (an outstanding Luca Marinelli).
Now, this villain has the insanity of the Joker and the thirst for power of the Penguin, as well as something more. He is just another criminal from Tor Bella Monaca, except for his penchant for showmanship. He has been on TV, and holds on to the same dream many others have nowadays: becoming famous, no matter the cost.
Mainetti’s work has been awarded with 7 David di Donatello and, more importantly, it has been widely appreciated by Italian public.
One of the reasons for this lies in the way characters are built. As the director says (in an interview by Nocturno):
“the character’s dimension must be extremely convincing, otherwise you will not manage to convey the audience’s emotions”.
Director: Gabriele Mainetti
Writer: Nicola Guaglianone, Menotti (Roberto Marchionni)
Cast: Claudio Santamaria, Luca Marinelli, Ilenia Pastorelli, Antonia Truppo, Stefano Ambrogi, Maurizio Tesei, Francesco Formichetti, Daniele Trombetti, Salvatore Esposito, Gianluca Di Gennaro