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A shabby spruce, after its temporary “job” as a Christmas tree is over, is dragged for kilometres along the streets of Naples, on the staircases and beside the stacks of rubbish. It doesn’t matter if it’s carried dragging it on the ground, or with a ride on a scooter, as long as it gets to the right hiding spot.

The debut as a director of the mysterious Cyop&kaf, a couple or maybe a single talent in painting and street-art, “Il segreto” (the secret), shows the traditional ritual of the “Cippo di Sant’Antonio” (bonfires of Saint Anthony) that takes place year after year in the Neapolitan capital.

The film camera has, therefore, to follow a bunch of hyperactive kids, intending to examine every corner of the city to find any fragment for their project. Hidden in the “secrets”, which are like real headquarters for the different “babygangs”, the trees are collected, in order to assemble a pile of wood ready to be set on fire for the bonfires on the 17th of January.

Cyop&kaf seems to be totally in the kids’ hands, leaving them in complete freedom, and participating in their nocturnal hunts.

Other than choosing a linear and simple direction, and a montage full of shots and reverse shots, that in some long scenes makes the film look more like a fiction rather than a documentary, the author reveals his painting experience, showing some frames that appear as symbolic paintings in motion (as in the high angle shot of “the secret”, that looks like an anthill during rush hour).

In a time when Naples is cinematographically shown far and wide, it’s not easy to find a story that’s interesting and different. Cyop&kaf made it, even if it could have been told in less time. (Antonio Capellupo)