After the success of Tearing along the edges, the first animated series created for Netflix, cartoonist and animator Zerocalcare returns to collaborate exclusively on the on-demand streaming platform with This World Can’t Tear Me Down, his second animated series (third, if we count the web-series Rebibbia Quarantine) entirely written and directed by the Arezzo-based author.
This World Can’t Tear Me Down will debut only on Netflix from tomorrow, June 9th in all countries where the service is active, and about which we can tell you a preview now that the embargo has finally expired, is produced by Movimenti Production in collaboration with BAO Publishing (for those interested, we point out that coming soon is Zerocalcare’s Animation Art Book.) and consists of a total of 6 episodes of about half an hour each.
With This World Can’t Tear Me Down the narrative universe and distinctive language of the famous Italian cartoonist return, here if possible more more ambitious and certainly more political than Tearing along the edges, between broken friendships, social injustices, and moral choices through which to navigate between the everyday and the professional. Lastly, the ‘mediator’ role that the artist can or should take in certain cases, dodging or dealing with ambiguities and hypocrisies.
This World Can’t Tear Me Down , or will it?
In addition to the historical and unmistakable protagonists of the author’s universe, Zero, Sarah, Secco and the Armadillo (voiced again by the unmistakable voice of Valerio Mastandrea), This World Can’t Tear Me Down introduces a new character, Cesare, ghost of Christmas past who returns to the author’s present after several years of absence and struggles to recognize the world in which he grew up. Zerocalcare would like to do something to help him reintegrate into the neighborhood but soon realizes that it may be too late to convince him to do the right thing…
Sorry for The cryptic turns of phrase about the plot of This World Can’t Tear Me Down, but the ‘spoiler-list’ presented to us by Netflix does not allow us to speak in too much detail about the most important passages of the story told by Zerocalcare in his new series: suffice it to say the world that threatens to make bad, told of course from the author’s point of view, is not only the one in which the viewers live but also (perhaps especially) that of entertainment, analyzed in all its contradictions between compulsory political correctness and the bricks in the shins that come from real life.
Endless quotes and impossible to summarize here, so many references to current events and also meta-narrative passages related to the Netflix experience. For example, the portrayal of the greedy, yellow-toothed drug-addicted producers who call Zero to bend him to their will – a bit obvious, perhaps even all too easy and a tad disingenuous – cannot help but bring to mind the Nanni Moretti vs. Netflix gag in Il sol dell’avvenire, which, however, remains distant in sophistication and cult value.
As is obligatory in post-modern storytelling, the sense of completeness of the tale is achieved through its digressions, which here give the story (and individual episodes) a pounding, frenetic, but also tireless and free-flowing pace, capable of making you believe that it could go on forever. And underneath you wish it were so.