With open eyes, the story of Totò Cascio in the short film by Mauro Mancini, from 12 December on Rai1 and RaiPlay

From Nuovo Cinema Paradiso to retinitis pigmentosa: Totò Cascio, the extraordinary child protagonist of Giuseppe Tornatore’s Oscar-winning film, tells his story in first person in the short A Eyes Open, from 12 December on Rai1 and RaiPlay.

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Gives New Cinema Paradiso by Giuseppe Tornatore, an Oscar-winning film in 1990, in which he was the unforgettable child starring alongside Philippe Noiret, with retinitis pigmentosa, a rare form of hereditary blindness that affects about one in three thousand people.

New Cinema Paradiso: on stage Philippe Noiret and Salvatore Cascio

The incredible story of Totò Cascio was told in the short film Eyes Open, directed by Mauro Mancini and produced by Movimento Film with Rai Cinema for the Telethon Foundation. The short film was shot in the same places where the shooting of the Oscar-winning film took place thirty-three years ago, thus creating a game of visual and emotional cross-references with Tornatore’s work. And it is “Totò” who in the short film tells us about his condition in the first person, what it means to lose his sight and find himself in an emotional labyrinth from which he tries to escape with all his strength.

“For many years, sixteen to be precise, Rai Cinema and Telethon have been working together for awareness campaigns on rare diseases. The idea was born from the belief that the power of images and the more specific language of cinema are able to tell with greater power the stories related to these diseases, and to bring them the attention they deserve – declared Paolo Del Brocco, CEO of Rai Cinema. The short A Eyes Open tells the difficult experience of Totò Cascio with his illness. Each of us remembers his big eyes wide open in front of the screen, the words of Giuseppe Tornatore bring back to life the energy and amazement of Totò as a child and make us relive the magic of that masterpiece. The commitment of Telethon, and Rai Cinema for our small part, it is really trying to restore hope to that look of Totò that has remained in everyone’s heart “.

Paradise cinema


“The story of Totò Cascio, told through this beautiful short film and the emotion that transpires from his words, makes the reason that gives substance to our mission even more evident: to give a concrete answer in terms of treatments and therapies to those who live with a rare genetic disease and their families. Telethon Foundation has always been involved in scientific research on hereditary vision diseases with significant investments that have allowed us to finance research projects that have led to innovative therapies capable of having a significant impact on life of those affected by these diseases – declared Francesca Pasinelli, Director General of the Telethon Foundation. Our thanks today goes to Rai Cinema and above all to Totò Cascio for making himself available and wanting to share his story, inextricably linked to a film which marked an era and entered the collective imagination, in support of the importance that covers scientific research. “

But what is retinitis pigmentosa? With the expression retinitis pigmentosa we refer to a group of hereditary diseases of the retina that cause progressive loss of vision up to, in severe cases, total blindness. In the most typical form, the first symptoms consist of a decrease in the ability to see in dim conditions and a narrowing of the visual field. Some forms, however, begin with the loss of the central part of the visual field. Symptoms typically begin before the age of 20. In some forms of retinitis pigmentosa, in addition to retinal disease, other alterations are found, such as deafness.

There are 23 projects financed by the Telethon Foundation on this hereditary pathology with an investment of over 5.5 million euros. Research projects with the aim of identifying the causes of the disease and finding concrete answers in terms of treatments and therapies.

The short film

Chiara Laudani and Mauro Mancini respectively the subject and the screenplay, with the help of the director Fabrizio Procaccini. Photography by Sandro Chessa and editing by Julien Panzarasa. The music was edited by Pivio, Musical Edition by Creuza S. rl, while I play live by Mirko Cangiamila and Simone Lucarella. Produced by Mario Mazzarotto and with the general organization by Laura I. Piscopio. The Opera was created with the support of the Lazio Region – Regional Fund for Cinema and Audiovisual.

With open eyes will be broadcast on Rai1 and available on RaiPlay from 12 December.

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