The protagonists

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Original title The protagonists
Country of production Italy ,
United Kingdom
original language English ,
Publishing year 1999
length 92 minutes
Age rating FSK 16
Director Luca Guadagnino
script Luca Guadagnino
production Fulvio Colombo
Massimo Vigliar
music Andrea Guerra
camera Paolo Bravi
cut Walter Fasano

The Protagonists is Luca Guadagnino's first feature film . In a mixture of fiction and documentary , he investigates a murder that two teenagers committed in 1994 in London for no apparent reason on someone they did not know. The film was presented at the 1999 Venice Festival , where it received the FEDIC (Federazione Italiana dei Cineclub) Award ( Special Mention ). In 1999 and 2000 it was shown at the Mannheim Film Festival and at other festivals in Europe, Asia and the USA.


The film describes the work of an Italian film crew in London trying to reconstruct a crime that was committed by two young people from the English upper class against a man they did not know, apparently for no reason and only to "have fun". The team follows in the footsteps of two teenagers, Happy and Billy, who ride the tube from King's Cross St. Pancras to Bayswater . At a crossroads they see a car with a man alone at the wheel. They approach the car, open the door, stab the man and, seemingly untouched, resume their daily lives.

The film team, led by an unnamed actress (Tilda Swinton), visits the places where the two of them lived, the place of the crime, the court in which the trial took place, conducts interviews and reconstructs in game scenes how it apparently happened unmotivated murder could have come. Tilda Swinton uses the language and language in which the media reported on the case at the time.

The film, in which documentary elements and game scenes alternate and merge over time, is at the same time a film about the making of a film .

Production, reception

Production of the film began in London in 1998 and was shot on location. The film's editor was Walter Fasano , with whom Guadagnino collaborated on all of his subsequent films. The Protagonists was Guadagnino's first film with Tilda Swinton , who was instrumental in the genesis of the following two films together, I Am Love and A Bigger Splash . The film received an overall negative rating from the Italian press after its premiere in Venice.

It was subsequently shown at a number of international film festivals, never came into theaters and was forgotten. It wasn't until 2014 that Cecchi Gori Home Video released a DVD in English and Italian.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Nick Davies: Murder as a choice of lifestyle - the case of Elsey and Petrolini. 1994 , accessed February 15, 2018.
  2. TNAArtist management, Luca Guadagnino , accessed on February 15 2018th
  3. Nick Vivarelli: Director to Watch: Luca Guadagnino in: Variety , January 20, 2010, accessed February 14, 2018
  4. ^ TNA Artist Management, Luca Guadagnino , accessed February 15, 2018.