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"Ti-Koyo and His Shark". Human-animal brotherhood from Clement Richer to Italo Calvino and Folco Quilici

By Damiano Benvegnu

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Ti-Koyo e il suo pescecane [Ti-Coyo and His Shark] is a 1962 film by Italian film director and screenwriter Folco Quilici. Based on a novel by the Martinican writer Clement Richer entitled Ti-Coyo et son requin (Ti-Coyo and his [White] Shark, 1941) but adapted for cinema by Italo Calvino (who wrote an actual short story on the subject, “Fratello pescecane” [Brother Shark]), Quilici’s film features the fraternal relationship between a boy and his beloved pet shark. This article investigates both the making of Ti-Koyo e il suo pescecane and the significanceof the human-animal relationship it presents. It thus first explores Richer’s novel in order to reveal how Calvino’s and Quilici’s versions have altered the original narrative as well as its postcolonial and post-pastoral meaning. It then examines how these transformations have affected the portrayal of the friendship between the human protagonist and the shark. The aim of this article is twofold. On the one hand, it argues that these three different versions of same story offer a perfect example of how contrasting representations of a similar environment might deeply affect both the cultural and the material relationships between human and non-human animals. On the other hand, it underlines how all of them also present a representation of an uncanny human-animal friendship capable of reminding us that we can actually love nature and its creatures for what they are.


Spencer CW Au

Date 2016
Translated Title "Ti-Koyo y su tiburón". Fraternidad humano-animal de Clement Richer a Italo Calvino y Folco Quilici
Publication Title Ecozon@: European Journal of Literature: Culture and Environment
Volume 7
Issue 1
Pages 59-75
ISBN/ISSN 2171-9594 (ISSN)
Publisher University of Alcalá
Location of Publication Madrid, Spain
Language English
Additional Language Spanish
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal science
  2. Animals in culture
  3. Literature
  4. postcolonialism
  5. sharks
  6. Social Environments