“I read an article published in the “New York Post” and decided to visit the community. I was very impressed by the tenacity and willingness of parents to refuse isolation and to work toward the feeling of normalcy for their children suffering from XP, Xeroderma Pigmentosum, a rare disease that prevents those who suffer from it from any contact with the sunlight due to the lack of an enzyme that allows the repair of the damage caused by ultraviolet rays.” Speaking is Carlo Hintermann, director of The Dark Side of the Sun, a mix of documentary and animation presented also at the Ortigia Film Festival, 2013, after spending time at so many other international festivals, which depicts the life condition of Camp Sundown, a night camp in New York State where children and young “moon” people from all around the world, along with their parents, meet in the summer months to share experiences, get together, play, and learn to live with a disease at high risk for skin cancer and for which there is no cure.
Before making the film, the crew spent three years at the camp, without filming virtually anything, to try to establish a strong relationship with the kids and their parents and to fully understand the depth and detail of a disease in a position to shake things up for entire families forced to live in a world made of lowered windows and inevitable compromises. “In fact, one of the challenges the production of The Dark Side of the Sun was having to film without lights that emit UV rays. This project involved the creation of light games with which the children could interact,” tells Hintermann.
The testimonies of Fatima, Mackenzie, Rachel and Kevin, who talk about their relationship with the disease and how to live in the darkness away from the daytime world of their peers, are alternated with some animation. The tablets that were written and produced by Lorenzo Ceccotti on the basis of drawings and stories created by young people bring to mind the world of Hayao Miyazaki’s anime, always suspended between otherworldly creatures and fairy-tale places. There are two binary narratives that intertwine and merge, sinking into a dreamlike dimension whose protagonists Father Night, the darkness of the night, and Mother Day, the light of day, in order to express the inner landscape, made of dreams, desires, fears, create a parallel life to be able to find some “normality”. “We wanted to avoid making the film seem like an investigation but it is not easy to avoid the pity that the story lent itself, so we decided to make a cinematic story capable of capturing the unique beauty of an upside down life.”
The dark side of the sun
Director: Carlo Hintermann
Production: Citrullo International, Rainbow, Rai Cinema
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