“Levante Ventitré” tells of a painful rebirth

“Levante Ventitré” tells of a painful rebirth

“In 2023 I was reborn as a woman and a child” says Levante at the opening of the documentary which recounts a crucial year for her career. In fact, 2023 was for her the year of her return, of her comeback on her scenes. “Levante Ventitré – Years of flights of fancy” tells the story of the before, the after and the difficulty of reinventing oneself as a woman, mother and artist in front of an audience that has difficulty digesting changes.

To tell the story of the opening of a circle and the closing of it, to celebrate an important career milestone, Levante chooses the now very popular formula of the mini-documentary to be distributed on streaming platforms. “Levante Ventitré” arrives on Paramount+ on the eve of the tour that will take it to the main Italian theatres, after the experience on the stage of the Verona Arena.

Levante tells the story of the exit from a dark tunnel

However, compared to other similar products – the doc on Blanco, the behind the scenes of Elodie’s golden year, Levante mixes the same elements in a different way.

There is the story behind the scenes, there is the exaltation of the goals achieved, but it is clear that there is a different career and artist behind it. Blanco didn’t even mention her Sanremo, Elodie concentrated on the career turning point built painstakingly, piece by piece. Levante instead celebrates a milestone but looking behind her at a dark tunnel from which she managed to get out. The starting point is the finish line: the concert at the Verona Arena.
It is precisely at the Verona Arena that the five live performances that embellish a slim documentary were recorded. In 72 minutes Levante finds time to tell her story and revisit 5 classics from her repertoire, as presented in the Arena: “L’invincibile”, “Vivo”, “Alfonso”, “Alma Futura” and “Mi manchi”.

Locked in a white studio, sitting on a deconstructed armchair made of wire, Levante herself comments on the images of the Arena’s backstage. The strong singer-songwriter voice also reveals itself as a narrative voice capable of telling and analyzing itself without the need for external interventions. The Arena opens “Levante Ventitré – Anni di flights of fancy” because it is a point of arrival after 11 years of career from the radio success of “Alfonso”, which changes her life. From a bar in Turin to the Arena, conquering the light of the stage on her own. The climb and the apprenticeship, however, are not part of the narration of the documentary.

The Arena and Sanremo of “Vivo”

Here the focus is on the return, passing through the Caudine Forks of Sanremo and the anxious test of a large stage like the one in Verona. An amateur video is inserted halfway through the documentary which acts as a chronological starting point for the story. Before the final leg of her tour, Levante announces to her entourage that she is five months pregnant. She is nervous, she asks them for absolute silence. Taking on a tour while life is forming inside you is a demanding experience, both humanly and professionally.

Alma arrives and leaves the scene to be with her daughter. Levante here recounts her dark period with great realism and frankness. “I have two medals on my chest” she declares, referring to her “two depressions”. There is the indelible one from childhood, linked to her paternal absence and there is the new, tiring one, postpartum. Levante talks about how insidious she is because she is little talked about, little recognizable. However, this happens in the advanced stages of the documentary, which tells the story of the artist’s private life after the great experiences that shape his return to the scene.

The first is precisely the Arena, experienced with the fear of failure and joy. The documentary follows the creation of the concept (“I wanted to be a swan on that stage”), the rehearsals with the dancers, the orchestra as a realization of the singer’s wishes at an important goal. She also really wanted French horns, she explains, and is very happy to have had them alongside the musicians and choristers who are always with her on stage.

The second important chapter of “Levante Ventitré – Years of flights of fancy” is dedicated to the artist’s second Sanremo in the Amadeus era, in which he brought “Vivo” to the Ariston. Levante confesses that there were two songs sent to the host and artistic director. His whole team hoped that “I miss you” would be chosen. Compared to “Vivo” it would have been an easier song to bring to the public, more suitable for showing off one’s vocality, explains Levante.

“Even changes in look are burdensome to a woman”

Amadeus instead chooses “Vivo”, a song that tells in first person and in the present tense an “erotic dream” which is the opposite of how a woman usually feels after giving birth. Levante explains the strength of a piece that calls for a body capable of passion, magical, strong, at a time when she felt the opposite. In the story of that stage “that you love and hate”, Levante also underlines how challenging it was to present her change of look.

Away with the thick, black eyebrows, away with the chignons and raven black hair. The platinum blonde look with bleached eyebrows was surprising. There were also some attempts to bring her back: “I needed a change, but in my team there was a bit of apprehension and there was some pressure to return to the old one”. Levante insists on this, underlining how it is an experience that she does not necessarily want to frame in the gender issue, but it would be the most correct frame to use. “They were not affected by similar changes to other colleagues.” When I went back to black, she explains, I did it essentially out of laziness. It was too much for me to bleach every two weeks.

“Levante Ventitré – Anni di flights of fancy” is available for streaming on Paramount+.