"Turin, 1909. Cesare Lombroso, the world-famous founder of the School of Criminal Anthropology, arrives at the isolated mansion of Lazar, an elderly illusionist. Lombroso, attracted to Spiritualism, challenges Lazar: to prove that the supernatural exists and that it may be the cause of a heinous crime.
What could have unleashed the murderous fury in the young seminarian Tommaso and what binds him to the paranormal faculties of Lazar and his son Lorenzo? Is it illusionism or is there something real?
The ancient and decadent house of Lazar hides many truths and Lombroso's scientific vision will have to open up to new perspectives."
The Larvae project, born in 2014 and previously developed in a screenplay for a feature film, was inspired by the Cesare Lombroso Museum of Criminal Anthropology in Turin. One of the aspects that struck Alessandro Rota, was that in the museum almost no mention, was made of Lombroso's deep passion for Spiritism, so much so that he even wrote an essay ("Research on hypnotic and spiritic phenomena”), and he reviewed the drafts a few hours before his death on October 19, 1909.
For many academic colleagues seen as the weakness of an old man, but which instead Lombroso always faced with his positivist approach. This real historical inspiration became the basis of the film's subject, in which science confronts the supernatural.
«Larvae is a short film in which the facts are closely linked to history: although it is a fictional story, I wanted to respect the rule of historical coherence of the character of Cesare Lombroso. Going to imagine how he would have actually behaved in dealing with the so-called Larvae Spirituals mentioned in the treatises of Spiritism. One above all, the famous "Le Livre des esprits" by Allan Kardec from 1857.
When I found myself in front of the case containing Lombroso's skeleton, which he himself wanted to donate to science and exhibit in his museum, I felt that it could be the right idea to tell a lesser known side of this character, who is still today the center of occasional controversy.
It was inevitable to refer to his famous theories and then I asked myself: what would Lombroso have hypothesized when approaching Spiritism, if not that the supernatural could in some way influence the acts of someone not physiognomically predisposed to crime?
Larvae is therefore a short film that moves between science, hidden truths and unknown forces. But not only. Larvae tells us about the dark side, the inexplicable, the consequences of human feelings.»
The short film was made in a complete independent production, from the collaboration between the Cultural Association Officine Ianós and Reddress s.r.l., with the support of various institutions:
Turin Piedmont Film Commission, Astut, Regional Directorate of Piedmont Museums, Govone Residenza Sabauda Association, Asti Museums Foundation, Municipality of Saluzzo, Terres Monviso, Municipality of Dogliani, Municipality of Traversella.
Filming took place in many locations in the Piedmont area, including the Royal Castle of Govone, the home of the Marquis Del Carretto di Saluzzo, the Agliè Castle, the Monviso Natural Park.
The short film also saw the participation of IMAGO VFX, an innovative Turin start-up in the post-production and visual effects industry.
The soundtrack, published by Machiavelli Music, was composed by Francesco Cerrato and involved extraordinary musicians such as Michele Barchi (harpsichord), Daniele Ferretti (organ) and Stefano Cerrato (violoncello).
The shooting was supported by Ouvert Cine Rental, the major reference service for cinema equipment in Turin.
Leo Mattia Ghezzo
Federico Dedo Gorgoglione
Gerardo Fornari (A.I.C.)
Sergio Luca Loreni