Archive of films They Call Me Jeeg / Lo chiamavano Jeeg Robot

2015, 118 min

Section: Variety Critics' Choice
Year: 2016

Thanks to an unusual accident, an incorrigible petty criminal is gifted with superhuman powers. And thanks to another, he is mistaken by a traumatized beauty for the superhero of a Japanese manga series. What else, then, but to do good deeds and tangle with a gang of thugs? Full of dramatic twists, the movie makes the most of humor and comic-book exaggeration, while still managing to point out the social ills of contemporary Italy.


Italy finally has its very own superhero, and his capacity for mixing social critique with heroic feats is boundless. Gabriele Mainetti’s thoroughly enjoyable, surprisingly plangent and gritty film features a criminal loser who stumbles upon his powers Toxic Avenger-style (by accidentally falling into a barrel of radioactive waste) and learns to care about humanity thanks to a traumatized woman who’s convinced he’s the Japanese manga character Steel Jeeg. Mainetti may be a novice helmer, but there’s no trace of the beginner here, with style and execution earning top marks along with modest yet well-handled visual effects. Believable in nearly all aspects except for its hero’s new powers, They Call Me Jeeg fits into a new, distinctive brand of European superhero movie, creatively playing with the rehashed formulas that persist in American productions, using familiar ingredients to comment on Italian social and political ills.

Jay Weissberg

About the director

Gabriele Mainetti (b. 1976, Rome) is an Italian director, producer, composer and, first and foremost, an actor. He studied film history and criticism at university in Rome and took courses in direction, screenwriting, and cinematography at Tisch School of the Arts in New York, where he also had training as an actor. Since 1998 he has worked in theater, while also taking numerous roles in film and television, including popular series. He has written the scripts for four realized features, in some of which he also acted. As a director he started out with short dramas – his debut Basette (2008) and the subsequent Tiger Boy (2012) screened at a variety of short film festivals where they earned top nominations and awards. For his successful feature debut They Call Me Jeeg, which makes inventive use of a Japanese comic book superhero, he also composed the music.


RAI - Radiotelevisione Italiana S.p.A. - Direzione Commerciale
Via Umberto Novaro 18, 00195, Rome
Tel: +39 063 749 8244
Fax: +39 063 751 6222

About the film

Color, DCP

Section: Variety Critics' Choice
Director: Gabriele Mainetti
Screenplay: Nicola Guaglianone, Menotti 
Dir. of Photography: Michele D'Attanasio
Editor: Andrea Maguolo
Art Director: Massimiliano Sturiale
Producer: Gabriele Mainetti
Production: Goon Films
Coproduction: Rai Cinema
Cast: Claudio Santamaria, Luca Marinelli, Ilenia Pastorelli
Sales: RAI - Radiotelevisione Italiana S.p.A. - Direzione Commerciale


Gabriele Mainetti

Film Director


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