“Pizza Panic” by Leonardo Malaguti (2022)
Remaining enclosed in one’s own world can often seem the ideal solution to escape from the desperate and distressing everyday reality. Building around oneself boundaries, insurmountable barriers, can give the illusion of escaping the yoke of social relations, now degenerated into a sort of hypocritical and apparent convention. Leonardo Malaguti, through the unique narrative of Pizza Panic, tries to highlight this particular aspect without, however, indulging in the drama of the context, managing to balance, with extreme care, a comic and exquisitely grotesque atmosphere.
Guido, every day for over ten years, receives a pizza delivery that, of course, he has never ordered. The arrival of the deliveryman and the ringing of the intercom coincide with the repetition of a tragicomic nightmare, in which the pizza allegorically changes its connotations, turning into a metaphorical obsession from which it is impossible to escape. In the darkness of his tiny apartment, a veritable Dantesque forest seems to come to life, punctuated in the background by the methodical narration of a documentary about animals; it is almost a limbo, within which the protagonist finds shelter from the dangerous outside world: only the long-distance relationship with his daughter – whom he has not seen for years now – seems to keep him anchored to reality.
But all this is not enough. The attempt to break the repetition, to cross the boundary that confines him, only provokes a vertical collapse, in which the Fellini-like dream journey that follows leads the man into the mad abyss of an eternal sleep. The cremation ceremony is overlaid with the interior of a wood-fired oven, while the coffin, inexorably, turns into a tasty, fragrant pizza. With irony and surrealism, death is served on the table.
– Emidio Sciamanna