Drama - Development 2008

Empoverished 13 years old Neapolitan boy befriends a hunchback Holocaust survivor, who has been stranded in Naples on his way to the Holy Land. Their relationship changes both lives forever.

    • Year of production
    • 2008
    • Genres
    • Drama
    • Countries
    • ISRAEL
    • Languages
    • Budget
    • 3 - 5 M$
    • Duration
    • 100 mn
    • Director(s)
    • Avi NESHER
    • Writer(s)
    • Avi NESHER
    • Producer(s)
    • Silber DAVID (Metro Communications), Harel SHARON (NottingHill Films)
    • Synopsis
    • 1960 Naples, a young Neapolitan boy, on the verge of becoming a man, lives in the crowded slums of “Montedidio” (God’s Mountain). The boy gets closely acquainted with his neighbor, Maria, whom is also 13 years of age. Her circumstances have forced her to mature faster than other children. The cold-hearted landlord makes sexual advances towards Maria. Maria tries to find refuge and protector in our protagonist.
      The boy’s parents are in a constant struggle to survive, so he finds a mentor in Don Rafaniello (Mr. Radish), a red haired and hunchbacked Holocaust surviving cobbler. Don Rafaniello tells the boy stories and teaches him a thing or two about cruelty and compassion.
      Don Rafaniello, the sole survivor from his eastern European village, arrived in Naples on his way to the Holy Land. During the years Don Rafaniello is “stuck” in Naples, he gathers strength to take off to the Promised Land.
      “Taking off” is defined both in physical and spiritual terms for Don Rafaniello. The cobbler tells the boy that wings are sprouting inside his hump and he will spread them on the coming New Years Eve and fly to Jerusalem. In the cobbler’s native village the hump was considered a curse. In Naples it is a blessing, everyone rubs it for good luck.
      “The war cleansed my heart and washed my feet with white wash,” the cobbler tells the boy, “When it ended I was ready to ascend into the hill of the Lord.”
      And so the reader (and viewer) follows the last months of innocence for the boy and the last months of life for the cobbler.
      The boy takes upon himself to protect the weak. With Don Rafaniello’s help, the boy succeeds in prying Maria from the clutches of the wicked landlord.
      During these few months the boy loses his mother, a victim to a plague in Naples during that period. The clock is ticking and the big night is getting closer- the night when the cobbler spreads his wings and takes off to the Promised Land (or in a more mundane interpretation, the cobbler takes a leap from a roof and ends his painful life).
      As poor Naples prepare for new year’s, it snows in Naples- a miracle in itself. The boy and Don Rafaniello are making their way to the highest rooftop on “God’s Mountain,” as fireworks fill the sky over the magical Naples bay, they look towards Jerusalem…
      Will Rafaniello spread his wings? Will he fly to the Promised Land? And the boy- already on his way to his own promised land- Will his heart withstand the separation? Is the separation a final coming of age?
      The answers come in the last minutes of the book/film.
    • Partners & financing
    • Existing partners: Israeli Film Fund, Israeli Television, Private Equity in Israel, Italian co-producer, international sales agent.
      Required: French, German, UK co-producers
    • Production schedule
    • Pre Production: Oct. 2007 - Jan. 2008
      Shooting: Jan. 2008 - March 2008
      Post Production: April 2008 - Oct. 2008
    • Beginning of shooting
    • Jan 01, 2008