This World Can't Tear Me Down

This World Can't Tear Me Down

A semi-autobiographical show about millennial bewilderment, in pure punk form

The Very Best


TV Show

English, French, Spanish
Animation, Comedy, Drama
Valerio Mastandrea, Zerocalcare
30 min

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I just have to talk about the politics, otherwise my nose bleeds.

What it's about

While the neighborhood is divided over keeping the refugee shelter, Zero bumps into an old high school friend who just returned from rehab.

The take

This World Can’t Tear Me Down is a timely release on friendship, punk, and anti-fascism. From the Italian cartoonist Zerocalcare, his second Netflix show shifts his musings over mental health to his experiences with regard to the country's rising neo-Nazism. As xenophobia tears his friend group, it's easy to feel the fear and self-doubt Zero's cartoon counterpart feels. It's easy as well to empathize with Sarah and Cesare, characters failed by the system around them. In many ways, they themselves feel like they haven't met their potential. But the show suggests that perhaps status and achievement aren’t what being successful is all about– it's about holding onto principles. Through punk soundtracks and shifts between stop motion and 90s cartoon style, This World Can't Tear Me Down captures the millennial generation's bewilderment, as well as their hope.

What stands out

With the show’s themes, plot points, and autobiographical inspiration, there’s something perfect about the punk influence in both the animation and soundtrack. While set in the 2020s, the show makes you see the world through the eyes of someone born and raised in the 70s-90s, from the subculture that started in rebellion to the era’s right-wing politics. Graffiti-esque drawings, wailing electric guitar, and shouted lyrics all line up with the alternative aesthetic. It might just be Zerocalcare’s preference and art style, but punk is a great fit considering the subculture’s history and ethos. Punk even happens to be one of the few subcultures actively pushing out Nazis. With the show’s political commentary, as well as Zero’s concerns over selling out, it just seems right to pair the show’s story with art inspired by anti-establishment sentiment.

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