It’s not often that an award-winning author and screenwriter decides to direct a TV series adapted from his own beloved novel, but that’s exactly what Niccolò Ammaniti has done with Anna (set to air on AMC+). Based on his 2015 book, the six-episode series takes a science-fiction dystopia—a world where a mysterious illness has killed off all the adults—and turns it into a horrifying, bewildering, and absolutely mesmerizing fable, as you can see in this trailer, debuting exclusively on io9.
Suffice it to say, the kids are extremely not all right, starting with Anna (Giulia Dragotto), whose mom leaves her with a survival guide. But it’s not a book at all equipped to help Anna through the surreal world she must search to find her kidnapped brother. This is no mere post-apocalyptic TV series, according to Anna’s creator, writer, and director. “Anna is both a psychedelic trip, a dark tale, and the powerful coming-of-age story of a girl in which childhood is no longer perceived as a station of life, but rather as the permanent condition of all human existence,” explained Ammaniti. “Anna is also things happening with no grand design; paradigm without judgement; and it is also an uncanny paradox that calls into question our very relationship to nature, to ourselves, to our demons—only to remind us that all truth is mystery unto itself, and that all that deserves to be saved is the loving embrace of two children.”
Ammaniti focused on nature in particular, as you can see by how much it’s reconquered the world of human civilization in the trailer. “To depict a world without adults was a challenge for all departments,” said Ammaniti. “Nature, freed from adults, had to come out strongly as the series’ true star. The remains of human civilization, mercifully covered by greenery, reconquering its natural space. Thanks to everybody’s cooperation, I believe, a series has been born that feels sunny and bright—but can turn dark and scary at any moment, without warning.”
The trailer definitely leans more into the dark and scary—small children emerging from viscous blue paint, others wearing animal masks in poorly lit rooms—but again, it’s fascinating. It’s certainly as good an argument for signing up to AMC+ as I’ve seen. Starring Dragotto as the teenaged title character and 9-year-old Alessandro Pecorella as her kidnapped brother Astor, both of whom are making their TV debuts, Anna premieres on AMC+ on November 18 and will stream episodes weekly.
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