Eighty-one years after Pinocchio (1940), Walt Disney and Pixar are back with a new animated film set entirely in Italy, Luca (2021). It is a coming-of-age story based on a deep friendship between two sea monster boys and a human girl from Portorosso, an imaginary sea coastal town in the Cinque Terre (Liguria), in the nostalgic mid-1950s. This study intends to investigate the construction of Italianness in the film on the visual and acoustic levels. First, this article will briefly examine the visual representation of Italian people, objects and traditions that contribute to the overall construction of fictional Italianness in the film. Then, the fictional language used to characterise the inhabitants of Portorosso to distinguish them from the sea monsters will be examined in more detail; this will be done by analysing code-switching instances, where Italianisms will be included in four different categories. Unlike Pinocchio, Luca’s producers have created an artificial code that is of particular interest to researchers in the field of Sociolinguistics and Audiovisual Studies. This study will mainly focus on the construction of identity and Kozloff ’s functions of film dialogues. In the final sections of the article, which will analyse code-switching, Brown and Levinson’s impoliteness theory will also be addressed.
May 16, 2022