Exclusive: view the trailer of 99 Amaranto, the documentary about Cristiano Lucarelli and Livorno.
Twenty years later. Cristiano Lucarelli was one of those Shangai children. And now he is a well-paid “serie A” football player. He chooses to refuse a millionaire contract with a big team to finally come back and play for Livorno, in that football ground located just a few miles away from his old neighbourhood. [read more]
A production by L'Occhio e La Luna. "99 Amaranto" is a documentary film based on the book "Tenetevi il miliardo", written by Carlo Pallavicino. [read more]
"The History of Football is like a sad journey from pleasure to duty. The more the sport became an industry, the more it lost its beauty: playing simply to play the game. Luckily, and rarely, there is some dirty-faced , cheeky boy, who strikes a discordant note, playing for the pleasure of kicking the ball into the net, and runs and rushes into the forbidden adventure of freedom."
Livorno, a Tuscan working-class town whose economy is largely based on its port business: Shangai area, one of the working class neighbourhoods of the town. In the mid 1980’s: two sweaters crumpled on the grass used as goal posts, faith and desire as crossbeam. Two children play football, wearing reddish purple football t-shirts. They take their shirts off as they score a real goal while running below the imaginary fan club section in the stadium.
Livorno Football Club has been far from “serie A” since 1949 . The stickers album so popular in 1980’s among Italian children does not spend a page on Livorno’s Team. And yet every child still dreams of scoring a goal in the city’s football ground, the “Ardenza” and bring the city’s team back to the glory of “serie A”.
Twenty years later. Cristiano Lucarelli was one of those Shangai children. And now he is a well-paid “serie A” football player. He chooses to refuse a millionaire contract with a big team to finally come back and play for Livorno, in that football ground located just a few miles away from his old neighbourhood.
This is such an unusual choice in the world of football, whose characters set their choices and values only on terms of economic gain.
What drove Cristiano Lucarelli to this brave choice?
Surely his ties with the city, inherited from his father, a very passionate man who’s always worked in the docks. Cristiano’s attachment to Livorno has grown during his young years, when he was playing in the streets, where everyone shows warmth and follows his or her own natural instinct. Afterwards, when he was playing for other teams in the lower divisions, he had only one dream in his heart: coming back to bring Livorno’s Team back to the top.
Since Lucarelli’s choice is unusual - and we’ll go on to discover the motives behind his behaviour - the city as well shows some peculiar and unusual traits. Livorno whose spirit is proletarian, passionate, proud of its working class origins, it’s a natural stage full of eclectic people, geniuses and satirists, stubborn people who tackle life’s everyday problems with jokes and irony.
In this context the passion for Football and political engagement
mix, they form Livorno’s peculiar attitude towards life and shape its
character. As Cristiano Lucarelli himself states: this is simply the
backbone of Livorno’s identity.
This is the attitude that brings Lucarelli to play a spectacular season, scoring so many incredible goals and bringing the Team from the “serie B” up to the “serie A”!
This is a modern fairy tale that unfolds through the vivid and funny stories narrated by the characters who shaped and witnessed the events. Cristiano himself, reveals his human and sportive life in first person, from the matches in the parks and courtyard, to the first time he wore the National t-shirt. His father Maurizio, the hard worker who saw his dream come true. Carlo Pallavicino, Cristiano’s agent who followed him from his first engagements, and can’t believe his ears when Cristiano refuses a contract worth a billion of old liras to go back home. He represents our external point of view and leads us to better understand the reasons of what is considered such a simple and plain choice for someone who’s born in Livorno. It’s a common feeling among the inhabitants, in fact, who pity people who live anywhere else in the world, but not in what they consider the most beautiful city of all.
Now Lucarelli and Livorno’s football team draw the attention of national and international observers on to this old port city, founded on a multicultural basis, as the legend says the city was populated with ex patriots of different origins, i.e. prostitutes, criminals, geniuses, alcoholics, anarchists, sailors etc.
Even though they tried to depict the inner value of the city and their feeling towards football from France, Germany, and Holland, we know it’s difficult to describe the power of this astonishing love story between a child, a football t-shirt and a city. This is the success story of an unknown boy who decided to stake everything on his dream and won despite modern football’s conformity and greed.