Gli Studios si trovano a Niles, come estensione di quelli originari a Chicago. Niles dista un’ora e mezzo circa da San Francisco, superata Oakland, ai piedi del Niles Canyon, set di molti film western. La presenza della ferrovia era essenziale, per trasportare i materiali. Poi, con l’avvento del sonoro, il rumore del treno fu una delle cause per cui gli Studios vennero definitivamente trasferiti a Los Angeles.
Attorno al 1915, in questi Studios Charlie Chaplin girò alcuni suoi film, tra cui “The tramp”. Qui incontrò Edna Purviance.
“Calzò delle scarpacce enormi.
Parevano quelle che portava da ragazzo ai Maggi, tutte consumate,
moresca dopo moresca. Solo che queste qui gli dissero di indossarle
a rovescio: il piede destro nella sinistra, il piede sinistro nella destra,
e di tenerle slacciate”.
… and his book “Per il bene che ti voglio”.
In the late Twenties, Antonio Bevilacqua leaves the environs of Lucca in hopes of an acting career in the off-Broadway theatres of San Francisco. There he comes into contact with the art world which centres on such figures as Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Elegant and degraded, frigid and solar, welcoming and cruel, San Francisco exalts and disappoints its children and step-children – including the Dagos, Italian immigrants. For a time Antonio moves to Hollywood, where he is employed as a stand-in for Chaplin, taking his place on the set to facilitate the arrangement of the scenes. He seems, therefore, to have found his ‘Merica’ of the ‘muvinpicce’ – a term derived from the English ‘moving picture’ in the awkward yet somehow poetic half-English half-Italian pidgin used by the Dagos. In language as in life, Antonio Bevilacqua, transformed in the meantime into ‘Tony Drinkwater’ (the literal translation of his name), inhabits a no-man’s land between what he once was and what he has not yet become.
Michele Cecchini was born in Lucca in 1972. He teaches literature and lives in Livorno. In 2014 he and Ettore Borzacchini created and presented the radio programme “Aperte Virgolette” – from 2015, “Saccadé” in an italian radio station. In 2010 he published Dall’aprile a shantih with Erasmo publishers. Per il bene che ti voglio is his second novel.