No Dogs or Italians Allowed
(Status: in development)
Luigi and his brothers set out from their native village in the Piedmont, off to discover “La Merica”, the fabulous land where dollars grow on trees. Finally, instead of crossing the Atlantic, Luigi puts his backpack down in southern France, with hands that could no longer work a depleted and stinting soil, he built our roads, bridges, and dams. Luigi was my grandfather, a dashing man with a romantic destiny. He fought two wars, poverty, and fascism. At last he met Cesira and founded a family, who cheered for the Tour de France and waltzed to Yvette Horner’s accordion. But his story is above all that of hundreds of thousands of Italian immigrants who left their homeland to settle elsewhere.
No Dogs or Italians Allowed
Director: Alain Ughetto
Authors: Alain Ughetto, Anne Paschetta and Alexis Galmot
Producer: Alexandre Cornu (Les Films du Tambour de Soie, France)
Co-Producers: Jean-François Le Corre (Vivement Lundi !, France), Ilan Urroz (Foliascope, France), Enrica Capra (Graffiti Doc, Italy) and Nicolas Burlet (Nadasdy Film, Switzerland)
Target audience: Young Adults / Adults
Technique: 2D digital / Stop-motion / Puppets / Live action
Alain Ughetto, who is famous for the award-winning La Boule (1984) and Jasmine (2013), uncovered his new feature film project No Dogs or Italians Allowed during Cartoon Movie 2019. It is the story of Luigi, an Italian immigrant that moved to France. He is Alain’s grandfather and settled in France after experiencing a long, tough period filled with hardships, including the two World Wars. We heard from Alain about the film project, which caught a lot of our attention.
Interview with Alain Ughetto
Animationweek: Where did the initial idea for this film project come from?
Alain Ughetto: My father used to keep telling me that there was a village in Italy where all the inhabitants bore the same name as ours. When he died, I went to that village in Italy. He was right. In the cemetery, 95% had our name. What had happened? Who were these people? Cousins, aunts, uncles? My grandfather Luigi wasn’t among them. Where was he?
So, the investigation started.
Animationweek: The visual design of the characters is more human-like compared to the characters in Jasmine(2013) and La Boule (1984), which had a more abstract style. What aim or intentions do you have for the visual design of the characters for this film project?
Alain Ughetto: In Jasmine, I was keen on translating the feelings of romantic love through the manipulation of plasticine. The characters are abstract since they are a representation of my memory. In No Dogs or Italians Allowed, the characters existed, though I never actually met them.
When I went searching for them in Italy, everything had disappeared. The trees had grown back over the coal industry of the time and roofs had collapsed onto their farm work. Museums were the only place where you could see how they’d lived.
When I got back to my workshop, I rebuilt their world with what I had brought back from Italy – chestnuts, broccoli, charcoal. This would be the set in which my grandfather, grandmother, uncles and aunts would live. Here is where a funny story, but a serious one too, would unfold. For this, I would need my family to be more realistic.
Animationweek: Which aspect of your main character, Luigi, do you most want to highlight in the film?
Alain Ughetto: Maybe the fact that he always finished whatever he started. He was a man who struggled with his time, a man who passed on his craftsmanship to my father who in turn passed it on to me.
Animationweek: What do you want the audience, who were born and raised in the aftermath of World War II, to think or feel through this film?
Alain Ughetto: Just like my audience, I’m from a generation which never knew misery, hunger, wars and major epidemics. I felt compelled to bear witness of the journey and of the very difficult lives our grandparents had.
All that’s left of Italy for me is in the connotation in my name. In my imagination, though, it conveys Italian Neorealism – Ugly, Dirty and Bad, The Scientific Cardplayer and The Easy Life – all these films which I loved dearly and which surrounded me as I grew up. And I want to pay homage to these works.