My Brilliant Friend – The story of a new name


A series by Saverio Costanzo starring Margherita Mazzucco and Gaia Girace.

The events of the second chapter of My Brilliant Friend pick up exactly where the first season left off. Lila and Elena are sixteen, and both feel they are stuck in a rut. Lila has just got married, but in taking her husband’s surname, it is as if she has lost herself. Elena is a model student but during her friend’s wedding reception, she realises she is happy neither inside the neighbourhood nor outside it. During a holiday on Ischia, the two friends meet up with old childhood friend Nino Sarratore once again, who has since become a promising university student. The seemingly casual encounter changes the nature of their bond forever, sending them off into two completely different worlds. Lila becomes a skilled saleswoman in the elegant shoe shop of the powerful Solara family, in the centre of Naples; Elena, on the other hand, doggedly pursues her studies, even willing to move away to do university in Pisa. The events of My Brilliant Friend spirit us along with the two girls through the heady years of their youth as they follow one another, losing sight of each other before finding one another once again.

Year: 2019 Running Time: 50 min.
Seasons: Episodes: 8

Director's Notes

The first two episodes of The Story of a New Name do bear a strong continuity with the end of the first season, but from the third chapter things begin to change. Lila and Elena appear much older, as adults. The camera and the staging try to follow this growth, allowing the shots and sequences to settle with an at once slower and more discontinuous tempo; something is starting to break. The rhythm decisively accelerates in the fourth and fifth chapters describing the holidays in Ischia. Alice’s poetic and anarchic sensitivity accompanies the girls towards their age, and dancing on the beach to the rhythm of a cha-cha-cha we enter the rebel language of the sixties, inspired from French Nouvelle Vague cinema. The rift, the crack between Lila and Elena after Ischia turns into the Rage of the sixth chapter.

The editing tears the shots, sequences and music apart, while the filmic tempo is exacerbated and the point of view, until this point Elena’s, becomes confused, like airport baggage on a carousel, moving from one enraged testimony to another. The Ghosts of the seventh chapter’s title are the companions of Elena’s loneliness during her years in Pisa, at the “Normale” University. Lila has become a distant memory, a grainy image like that impressed on the 16 mmfilm that gives substance to her personal narrative, to the secret diaries Lila has consigned to Elena during one of her rare trips to Naples, making her swear she’ll never read them, but which instead become for Elena the necessary stimulus to help her react and free herself from the fear she’s been plunged into.

The last chapter is The Return. The language goes back to what it was at the beginning. The image widens and reveals once more the horizon that had shrunk. Elena graduates and becomes a writer. The tempo of the shots expands in a search for the epical breathing of someone who has returned to find everything as it was, but at the same time so completely different.

Saverio Costanzo


Saverio Costanzo was born in Rome on 28 september 1975. He graduated in Sociology of Communication with a thesis on Italian Americans in Brooklyn.

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MBF2_from left, Gaia Girace (Lila) & Margherita Mazzucco (Elena)_photo by Eduardo Castaldo
Gaia Girace & Margherita Mazzucco episodio 1_photo by Eduardo Castaldo
SNC_da sinistra Gaia Girace (Lila Cerullo) e Margherita Mazzucco (Elena Greco)_episodio 4 foto di Eduardo Castaldo_ (5)
Gaia Girace_episodio 5 photo by Eduardo Castaldo
SNC_da sinistra Margherita Mazzucco (Elena Greco) Gaia Girace (Lila Cerullo)_episodio 5 foto di Eduardo Castaldo_2
SNC_in primo piano Margherita Mazzucco (Elena Greco) e Giovanni Amura (Stefano Carracci)_episodio 2 foto di Eduardo Castaldo_