Neverlake, a new psychological thriller inspired by Shelley’s poetry

December 20, 2013

Shelley’s poem ‘The Sensitive Plant’ has inspired a new Italian feature film entitled Neverlake, recently debuted at the 2013 Courmayeur Noir Festival in northern Italy. The film was created by screenwriter Carlo Longo (who recently gave a talk on his work at the Keats-Shelley House), director Riccardo Paoletti and produced by Rai Cinema.  

Paoletti chose a place full of charm and mystery, ‘The Lake of the Idols’, a Tuscan location renowned for many discoveries of ancient Etruscan artefacts in its depths. The lake was a holy place for the Etruscan people who believed in the healing powers of its waters. They would throw small bronze objects, fashioned to resemble loved ones with diseases and maladies, as an offering to cure their ailments.

Neverlake is the story of a sixteen-year-old girl called Jenny who leaves New York to return to the place of her birth in Tuscany in order to reunite with her father. However she is harrowed by disturbing visions, eerily centred on the water in the nearby mystical lake. These visions are in some way like the haunting dreams that Shelley and Mary Shelley experienced shortly before Shelley’s drowning at sea in 1822. Little by little Jenny realises that her father is a man with curious secrets and a strange hidden link to the lake. 

The filmmakers wanted to portray Tuscany in a unique light, avoiding the usual clichéd imagery, while making the film accessible to overseas markets. Shelley also lived in Tuscany, offering another link to the poet and helping to gain approval from the Shelley International Society. The film’s narrative is underpinned throughout by the themes of Shelley’s ‘The Sensitive Plant’, which describes a plant that rots or wilts under pressure, seen by the makers of Neverlake as akin to the father character, consumed from within by damning secrets.

Where nothing is, but all things seem, 

And we the shadows of the dream, - Neverlake trailer

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