Amazon’s Italian original ‘Prisma’ challenges teenage gender norms

In Amazon Prime Video’s Italian original series ‘Prisma’, which premieres August 10 at the Locarno Film Festival, the streamer revisits the theme of gender identity after ‘Transparent’, while targeting a young adult audience and also tying into Italy’s neorealist roots.

The eight-episode show (watch exclusive clip) – the first TV series to premiere at the prominent Swiss festival dedicated to indie cinema – centers on identical teenage twins Marco and Andrea, who challenge gender norms in different ways, along with their group of friends who are also going through a similar journey.

Prisma is set in and around the city of Latina, south of Rome, which used to be a swamp until the country was drained under Fascist rule. The area is known today for modernist architecture and fertile agriculture.

‘Prisma’, which means ‘prism’ in Italian, is the brainchild of Ludovico Bessegato, who rose to local prominence as the showrunner of ‘Skam Italia’, the Italian adaptation of the Nordic teen drama that made a splash in Italy and is airing on Netflix .

Bessegato, who directed “Prisma,” wrote the screenplays with Alice Urciuolo, a writer who is of Latina origin.

It is produced by Cross Productions owned by Beta, the umbrella company behind Skam Italia.

“Five years ago, purely by accident, I had the opportunity to do stories about people younger than me, mentored by a Norwegian showrunner [and Skam creator] Julie Andem,” Bessegato said in his director’s statement.

“After five years on this journey, I felt the need to take everything I’d learned and try to do something that’s all ours,” he added.

“Something that started with our observation of reality; our context. Something that showed that we were not just good adapters, but were able to offer our own perspective on this world. A new narrative that brings together years of study and observation of this world with our personal vision of cinema and our aesthetic.”

“We started with the following fact,” noted Bessegato.

“All the years of meeting people younger than us had shown us clearly how many of the dualisms that had been unshakable dogmas up to my generation were no longer so for them.”

“And we’re not just talking about sexual orientation and identity. We are talking about a generation that seems to live in the broadest sense and choose the spaces in between.”

“A generation and a world in which the concept of diversity no longer seems sufficient to describe reality. Since there is no longer any convergence on a notion of normality, there cannot even be a unified view on that of diversity.”

No longer normal, no longer different. Just an infinity of unique existences. We borrowed the image of the optical prism that manages to separate light that only appears white into the infinite spectrum of colors that makes it up.” Amazon’s Italian original ‘Prisma’ challenges teenage gender norms

Charles Jones

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