Logline: Man can reach the abyss of the sea?
Synopsis: Nereo and Marta are two young people like many others: in love, searching for a future. Nereo meets Renato Pisacane, a former successful freediver successful now elderly, who offers him hope: to become the new freediving recordman. But there is a price to pay. The Nereo’s body transforms, slow and relentless, and the boy becomes a creature somewhere between a man and a fish. When the metamorphosis now seems irreversible, the saving intervention of Scarlett, Pisacane’s young companion, leads Nereo to the rebirth.
FISHMAN is a film set between Naples and the island of Procida (Italian Capital of Culture 2022).
Through a personal story, the film reconstructs the difficult relationship of its inhabitants with isolation and the sea.
Riverstudio has set up a low-budget production. Its total budgeted cost is 690,000 euros, falling into the category of training and research works of difficult films with modest resources.
From the industrial point of view, we believe we can make a film of high technical and artistic quality even with a modest budget by implementing some strategies that we have already tried in other productions.
Nereo and Marta have met recently but are already convinced that they love each other. He has dropped out of studies and earns a living working for his father in the small family’s pastry shop.
She, originally from Marseilles, is studying to become a judge. Together, they dream of moving into a small flat in the heart of Naples. But at the moment, neither of them can afford the cost of the rent.
Nereo, determined to change his life, decides to look for a better job. Thanks to a childhood friend, he manages to find a profitable job as a gardener on the island of Procida, in the villa of the rich Neapolitan businessman Renato Pisacane. He will have to stay away from Naples and Marta for a few months, but the offer is irremisible.
So Nereo, vital and enthusiastic, sets sail for Procida. Upon his arrival, the large and opulent villa is only inhabited by Rossella, the young wife of Renato Pisacane, a silent and elusive woman.
The garden is in devastated conditions, and Nereo’s work promises to be much harder than expected. The boy falls into despondency and decides to give up. But then something makes him regain his lost enthusiasm. Into the villa arrives, the elderly and charming Renato Pisacane, a former freediving recordman at the head of a prestigious shipyard. Thanks to his contagious charisma, the man manages to convince Nereo to stay on the island.
A deep bond arises between Nereo and Pisacane, like between father and son. Seduced by the mythical tales of the glorious past of “Renatino”, Nereo decides to follow in his mentor’s footsteps and try to become the new freediving record holder. Under Pisacane’s guidance, the boy begins an intense training, but his enthusiasm starts to turn into obsession. Marta disappears from his thoughts. Now the two rarely meet, and during their brief encounters on the island Nereo only talks about Pisacane, the sea, and freediving.
Pisacane turns into a tyrannical and oppressive authority. The old man rigidly dictates Nereo’s lifestyle, constantly monitoring him. The relationship between the pupil and the teacher degenerates until it becomes morbid. Scarlett senses that something is wrong and tries in vain to protect the boy. Meanwhile the old man, not satisfied with his pupil’s results, decides to give him a few doses of a mysterious drug, to improve the quality of his apneas. But Nereo’s body feels the side effects and begins to deteriorate. An ominous breathing sore appears on his neck, his hair falls out, and his pale skin begins to produce disgusting sticky secretions.
Now Nereo’s apneas in the villa’s swimming pool are prodigious. But the price to pay is very high.
In her rare visits to the island, Marta witnesses, with disgust and horror, the physical and moral metamorphosis of Nereo. She tries to save him by pulling him away from that cursed place. But he, abandoned to his fate, knows that there is no salvation. Their love is forever lost.
The metamorphosis of Nereo and the madness of Pisacane seem irreversible; it will only be thanks to Scarlett’s saving intervention that the boy will be able to find a rebirth.
Story and Screenwriting: Nicolas Spatarella, Raffaele Rossi
Showrunner: Maurizio Fiume
Producer: FLora Fiume Maurizio Fiume
Cast: Filippo Scotti
Runtime: 80 min