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02 May1954
Duel in the Shade
Renato Longo
Music by Guglielmo Pagnozzi

The duel in the sun is a film classic that takes place outdoors, but here we are in an interior, in the home of a Neapolitan family, the Longos, and so we have to make do with a 'duel in the shade'. It is 3 May 1954, Elio turns five and challenges his brother Enzo, a year older than him, to a sabre duel. The two children are recovering from scarlet fever. The duel takes place in front of the kitchen cupboard. In a single sequence, without cuts, the door opens, the duellists enter, draw their swords in front of the camera and then challenge each other until Elio falls to the ground stricken. In the next shot Enzo puts his sabre back in its sheath. A cinematic sequence worthy of a filmmaker. His father Renato's family directing is indeed effective and precise in the choice of shots and timing. The Longos' 9.5 mm cinema projects us into a childlike world where the camera plays a very precise role. The films are presented as brief pictures of the moments experienced by little Enzo and Elio, two brothers of almost the same age, where we witness a representation of childhood as a separate world, filtered through the irony of their parents: a protected space for Enzo and Elio's growth, accompanied by the presence, never looming, of the camera. A world full of rituals and toys, where cinema itself becomes a game that involves the children as protagonists. It is not difficult to imagine them fascinated by the equipment that allows moving images to be captured and projected. And just like games that educate, cinema is a tool that helps children grow (as well as a precious device for transmitting family memory).