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"Silenzio Bruno!" Luca director explains the meaning behind the Pixar movie's marvelous mantra

Luca
(Image credit: Disney Pixar)

Disney Pixar's latest movie, Luca, has landed with a splash on Disney Plus. There's plenty to love about its stunning animation, lively cast of characters, and Italian setting, but the movie also contains an unlikely motivational message in its bold refrain of "Silenzio Bruno!"

In the movie, Alberto tells Luca to repeat this to himself to silence his inner negative voice – shutting down his doubts by giving them a name. It's Alberto's method of convincing Luca to ride a homemade Vespa off of a cliff at first, but quickly becomes a way that Luca steels himself to be brave in his everyday life in Portorosso.

We spoke to director Enrico Casarosa about the movie, and he revealed just how that phrase came into being.

"We knew that we wanted Alberto to help Luca… and the metaphor was, truthfully, a literal and metaphorical push off of a cliff," Casarosa explains. "And then we say okay, in which ways he can help him, right? Luca is someone who is very self-limiting, insecure. And we started thinking about – we got to find a way Alberto helps him. And a writer [Jesse Andrews] came with this pitch and he wrote these pages, we were laughing and saying, 'Well, why Bruno?' He was like, 'Well, that's the line.'… So it needed to be preposterous, but also wise. And I love how these two things kind of come together in Bruno.

"We find it very meta… I'm a first time director, so imposter syndrome was my Bruno while making it," Casarosa continues. "And so we thought, 'Oh yeah, that's kind of relatable,' and friends are those who know even better than your own voices what you can do. We kept on talking about Alberto as being the 'You can do this. You can,' as opposed to the voices that tell you 'You can't do it. What are you doing? You shouldn't be here.'"

The bond between the two sea creatures helps Luca come out of his shell, and "silenzio Bruno!" is a huge part of that transformation – and, clearly, helped Casarosa along the way of making his first feature film (the director previously helmed the Academy Award nominated Pixar short La Luna).   

Luca is streaming free of charge on Disney Plus now. If you're all caught up, check out our ranking of the best Pixar movies to find your next watch.

I'm an experienced online writer with articles published on film, TV, and pop culture. I am currently working at GamesRadar+ as a freelance Entertainment Reporter. I previously worked on the Disney team and freelanced on CBeebies magazine with Immediate Media.