Ludovica Nasti (young Lila) and Elisa Del Genio (young Elena). Photo Eduardo Castaldo. ©Wildside/Umedia

My Brilliant Friend. Views from the Set

06.07 — 09.09.2019

Hours and Tickets

The Film Commission Regione Campania and the Fondazione Donnaregina per le arti contemporanee present My Brilliant Friend. Views from the Set, an exhibition by Eduardo Castaldo, curated by Silvia Salvati and Andrea Viliani.

The event is promoted by Campania Region on the occasion of the 30th Summer Universiade Napoli 2019. 

On view, between Madre museum and Luzzatti district (starting from the Giulio Andreoli Library), more than 100 photos realized by Eduardo Castaldo on the set of the television series My Brilliant Friend, based on the first novel of the quadrilogy by Elena Ferrante published in Italy by Edizioni E/O and in the United States by Europa Editions. Directed by Saverio Costanzo, My Brilliant Friend is an HBO, RAI FICTION and TIMVISION series, produced by Lorenzo Mieli and Mario Gianani for Wildside and by Domenico Procacci for Fandango, in collaboration with RAI FICTION, TIMVISION and HBO Entertainment, in co-production with Umedia. Fremantle is the international distributor in association with Rai Com.

Find out more:
click here to download the exhibition map or the exhibition guide

«I sat down at my desk. […] We’ll see who wins this time, I said to myself. I turned on the computer and began to write all the details of our story, everything that still remained in my memory.»

This is the opening of both the tetralogy of My Brilliant Friend, written by Elena Ferrante and of the television series directed by Saverio Costanzo: thus, opening a window of vision on the narration of Elena Greco, known as Lenù, and Raffaella Cerullo, also called Lila. A story of friendship and conflict, of affinity and rivalry, of growth and life. A literary and visual story staged by the Film Commission Regione Campania and the Fondazione Donnaregina per le arti contemporanee through a selection of production stills by Eduardo Castaldo (Naples, 1977), taken on the set of the television series, day after day, scene after scene, capturing, through his own lenses, the enigma of the opposite destinies of the protagonists. Instances, moments, plots, situations, which recall the written word and concurrently show the real-time work of cinema, giving back to us, through his views, the narrative fascination of the novel. My Brilliant Friend. Views from the Set is an exhibition project in several sections and in several places: at the Madre museum outskirts of the city of Naples. Each “chapter” of the exhibition is conceived of as a single episode within a wider expository plot in which to immerse oneself and let oneself be carried through the unfolding pattern.

At the Madre museum, the spaces of the Mezzanine introduce us to the existential universe of the novel and its representation in the television series, by presenting, as in a family album, the protagonists, the characters and their families. The exhibition continues in the Columns Gallery where it is divided into four interconnected sections, each dedicated to a different theme: the episodes and the main scenes; the specificity of the film production work; the power of acting and the extraordinary beauty of Naples and of the multiple places of the Campania territory that served as filming locations.

At the Luzzatti district, the Giulio Andreoli Library hosts a focus on the universe of childhood and the education of the protagonists. It is a sort of additional location – compared to the more well-known Piazza del Plebiscito and Spaccanapoli – which aims to attract the visitor, leading him/her to explore the neighborhood and its streets, to cross the real places where, in the course of reading, he/she has imagined Lila and Lenù meeting, becoming friends and growing up. Thanks to a public art intervention specially designed by Castaldo, the visitor will be accompanied through the tunnel of the escape towards the sea, invited to sit in the small square, to recognize the grills, windows, doors, gates, alleys and corners of a story read, imagined, staged, and however never experienced until now. Reinvoking the same compositional method – that is to say the form of a story within a story of the original novel, which begins with the words spoken by Lenù to recall Lila from her disappearance – the exhibition is composed by overlapping layouts, widening the borders of the exhibition path: “blurring the boundaries” of the very definition of display to widen and extend itself to life.

By referring to the cliff-hanger dynamics typical of a television saga and of a serial novel, also the exhibition project is constructed through the anticipation of a narrative sequel that, as in the 19th century pushed the reader of the feuilleton to buy the next issue and nowadays nails the spectator to the television screen, leads the museum visitors to ask for more to see, more to know and beyond…

Elena Ferrante

Elena Ferrante (Naples, 1943) is the author of Troubling Love, on which Mario Martone based the homonymous film. The next novel, The Days of Abandonment, was adapted into a film by Roberto Faenza. In Frantumaglia: A Writer’s Journey she recounts her experience as a novelist. In 2006 Edizioni E/O published in Italy the novel The Lost Daughter (Europa, 2008), in 2007 the children’s book The Beach at Night (Europa, 2016), illustrated by Mara Cerri, and in 2011 the first chapter of My Brilliant Friend, followed in 2012 by the second one, The Story of a New Name, in 2013 by the third one, Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay, and in 2014 by the fourth and last, The Story of the Lost Child (all published in US by Europa between 2012 and 2015). The first season of the series My Brilliant Friend, directed by Saverio Costanzo, premiered in US in 2018 on HBO and, in Italy, on Rai 1 e TIMVISION.

Saverio Costanzo

Saverio Costanzo (Rome, 1975) signed his first feature film, Private, in 2004, awarded with the Pardo d’Oro and the Best Actor Award at the Locarno Film Festival. In 2006 he directed his second feature film, In memoria di me, selected in competition at the Berlinale 2007. 2010 was the year of his third feature film, La solitudine dei numeri primi, based on the eponymous novel by Paolo Giordano, with which he participated in the 67th Biennale di Venezia. In 2014 he directed Hungry Hearts, presented in competition at the Venice International Film Festival, where it won two Coppa Volpi for the performances of the protagonists, Alba Rohrwacher and Adam Driver. He directed for Sky Cinema the Italian adaptation of In Treatment – Season 1, 2 and 3, the homonymous HBO series that is based on the Israeli format created by Hagai Levi. In 2018 he directed the first season of My Brilliant Friend, the television series based on Elena Ferrante’s novels.

Eduardo Castaldo

Eduardo Castaldo (Naples, 1977) is an Italian photographer. He began his career in Acerra in 2006 documenting the waste crisis and the suffering of his land. From 2007 to 2014 he worked as a free-lance photojournalist from the Middle East for international publications including “TIME Magazine”, “Newsweek”, “Le Monde”, “Internazionale”, “The Guardian”, “DerSpiegel”, “L’Espresso”, “IoDonna” and “Il Venerdì”. For his work on the Egyptian revolution he received numerous awards, including, in 2012, the World Press Photo in the Sport News section and two Photographer of the Year International awards. In the same year he had his first experience on set, working as a stage photographer for the film by Matteo Garrone Reality, winner of the Grand Prix at the Festival de Cannes in 2012. This experience was followed by Nevia, which was Nunzia De Stefano’s directorial debut, and culminated in the collaboration with Saverio Costanzo for the series My Brilliant Friend. Since 2016, under the pseudonym “edie”, he realizes street art interventions, elaborating and transforming his photographic works in relation to the urban context. He is the author of the public art project dedicated to the series My Brilliant Friend in the Luzzatti district, inaugurated with a first intervention realized at the Library Giulio Andreoli in January 2019, and developed on the occasion of this exhibition.