Giovanni, the theoretician. A politically active intellectual, he is a prophet of social integration who lives in the historical center of Rome. Monica, the practical woman. Former supermarket check-out assistant, where she lives, in the outskirts of the city, she deals with integration every day.
They’d never have met if their children hadn’t decided to become a couple. Monica and Giovanni, both the victims of ruthless prejudices with regard to their respective social classes, are as different as two human beings could possibly be, but they share a common goal: the relationship between their kids must end. To achieve their common resolution, they have to start meeting, however unwillingly, and enter each other’s worlds: Giovanni, used to seeing deep independent films in art-house cinemas, will find himself following his daughter to a chaotic suburban multiplex full of screaming youngsters pushing and shoving and baskets of popcorn rolling over the floor. Monica, on the other hand, used to spending her holidays on Coccia di Morto beach near Fiumicino airport, between expanses of bodies squashed like sardines along the sand and planes discharging fuel over their heads, will find herself in the super-posh natural reserve of Capalbio in Tuscany, surrounded by intellectuals and VIPs and far-fetched conversations on contemporary art. Until something between them suddenly changes and both understand they can no longer live without each other, even if their relationship will only last as long as “a cat on the highway.”
For me every film is born out of the wish to tell and, above all, share a story. Perhaps never as much as in this film has it been fun and liberating to do so…
Because, as a father of three girls, the human adventure experienced by our main characters, Giovanni and Monica, is something I’m fairly well-acquainted with. Deep down, all parents, however unintentionally, day after day build up an idea for themselves about their children only to then notice that in fact they’re something quite other from us. And that probably the world they present to us is also quite other from us: their passions, their friendships and often their love relationships too.
And this represents a formidable opportunity, because thanks to our kids we’re forced to come out of our protected zone and face this “other.”
Like a cat on the highway is all about this opportunity of directly confronting those who are distant from us in terms of social class, culture or nationality.
Given the opportunity to enter such a conflicting situation, we can start questioning our certainties and indulge in a luxury that tends more and more to frighten us: changing. Or rather, perhaps, understanding. Or, perhaps, better still, finding out before talking and judging.
The greatest privilege was to do so with laughter, with a comedy that brings together two actors who have worked with me together for the second time, Paola and Antonio. Extraordinary in their ability to give depth to two human characters without judging them, but instead loving them and making them a part of themselves, making them representatives of two opposite sides of Italy and allowing us to tell the story in popular language.
This film tries to focus our attention on a simple concept: in a culturally and socially divided country, it may be of some importance to make an effort to understand the reasons of the other, genuinely finding out about them.
I hope that Like a cat on the ring road will be a film about our present and perhaps about our future too; which, in certain moments of disheartenment, we feel will never come.
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