Italy Cinematography – The Comedy

Starting from the nineties some Italian filmmakers (Monicelli, Scola and Risi), who had been among the main architects of the Italian comedy, continued their activity, albeit in an irregular way; while among the comedians who had made their debut in the eighties, Roberto Benigni was the one with the best results at the box office. Carlo Verdone’s films have continued to be characterized by the grotesque deformation of the characters, with an ever-attentive look at the changes in society’s customs; just as Maurizio Nichetti continued to analyze, with the usual experimental cut, the visual devices of silent comedians (such as visual gags) and Alessandro Benvenuti has increasingly characterized his films with a surreal and bitter tone. While Francesco Nuti, also thanks to the commercial flop of Occhio Pinocchio (1994), he failed to confirm the popularity he had achieved in the previous decade, instead the works of Carlo Vanzina and Neri Parenti, often intended for a young audience, continued to be successful. in the case of Vanzina, characterized by a cinephile attitude that is expressed now as a parody now as a nostalgic re-enactment (Sognando la California, 1992; A spasso nel tempo, 1996; Christmas holidays 2000, 1999; Horse fever – La mandrakata, 2002). The mechanism of success is instead played, in the case of Parenti, on the use of gags and on the performances of the protagonists, such as the couple Massimo Boldi-Christian De Sica (Vacanze di Natale ’95, 1995; Tifosi, 1999; Merry Christmas, 2001; Christmas on the Nile, 2002).

According to ACEINLAND, a further category is made up of those actors who, after having achieved success in cabaret and television varieties, then faced cinema both as directors and as performers: this is the case of Antonio Albanese who brought his own dazed universe (Man of fresh water, 1997; Hunger and thirst, 1999; Our marriage is in crisis, 2002), or of the trio composed by Aldo, Giovanni and Giacomo (Three men and a leg, 1997; la vita, 1998; Ask me if I’m happy, 2000; The legend of Al, John and Jack, 2002) who in their films, also signed together with Massimo Venier, built their comedy mainly on the basis of isolated sketches but from which it emerges their proven harmony. In Tuscany, on the other hand, Leonardo Pieraccioni, after making his debut as a director with I laureati (1995), he achieved one of the highest grossing in Italian cinema with Il ciclone (1996), based on a polite and gentle comedy even if inserted in an often fragile narrative structure. Using a similar formula, he then directed Fireworks (1997), The Fish in Love (1999) and The Prince and the Pirate (2001), films written in collaboration with Giovanni Veronesi (author, in turn, of works such as Per amore, solo for love, 1993; Il barbiere di Rio, 1996; Il mio West, 1998) and interpreted by himself, the latter paired with Massimo Ceccherini (who also directed two films in his own right, Lucignolo, 1999 and Faccia by Picasso, 2000). Another comedian who, after having achieved success on television, confronted the cinema as a director was Giorgio Panariello (Bagnomaria, 1999 and At the right moment, 2000, of which he was also the protagonist). These comedians have been included by critics, together with Roberto Benigni and Alessandro Benvenuti, in a ‘Tuscan comic school’, with films produced almost exclusively by Vittorio Cecchi Gori. The Neapolitan area, on the other hand, was part of Vincenzo Salemme who, after having acted in the films of Nanni Moretti, achieved success with his debut work, L’amico del cuore (1998), then proposing the same model of comedy with At first sight (1999), Freewheeling (2000), Volesse il cielo (2002).

The structure of the Italian comedy has meanwhile continued to constitute a precise point of reference for filmmakers such as Paolo Virzì and Gabriele Muccino. Virzì made his debut with La bella vita (1994), followed by Ferie d’agosto (1995) and Ovosodo (1997) in which he combined the observation of the environments (Ventotene in the first case, a district of Livorno in the second) with a analysis of costumes with social and political references and with a propensity to deform the characters in a grotesque key. These elements emerged, albeit in a less evident way, also in Kisses and embraces (1999) and My name is Tanino (2002). Muccino, on the other hand, after Ecco Fatto (1998), achieved considerable popularity with Come te niente mai (1999) and L’ultimo bacio (2001) in which he portrayed adolescent anxieties and generational neurosis. On the sentimental comedy side, in addition to Francesca Archibugi who tackled the genre with stories of families and adolescents (from Mignon she started, 1988, to Domani, 2001), Ferzan Ozpetek, Giuseppe Piccioni and, in part, Carlo Mazzacurati and Silvio Soldini. Ozpetek (The Turkish bath – Hamam, 1997; Harem suare, 1999; The ignorant fairies, 2001) has been able to represent sentimental tensions and emotional impulses, alternating comedy cadences with more tragic moments; while Piccioni has focused on the private dimension of his characters, drawing now generational portraits (Il grande blek, 1987; Ask for the moon, 1991), now surreal splits (Condemned to marriage, 1993), now sentimental stories outlined with a bitter tone (Cuori al verde, 1996) or painful (Out of the world, 1999; Light of my eyes, 2001). Soldini’s foray into sentimental comedy should be remembered with Pane e tulipani (2000), a work that favors outdoor environments, as well as Mazzacurati’s cinema who, after the first films, subsequently made anomalous road movies with particular attention to environmental details and the confrontation between characters from different cultures (La lingua del santo, 2000; Riding the tiger, 2002). Daniele Luchetti instead used comedy to reread civil cinema in a surreal key (Arriva la bufera, 1993), institutions (The school, 1995), History (I little masters, 1998), based on the novel by L. Meneghello.

Among the actors who passed behind the camera, one of the most continuous activities was that of Sergio Rubini who, after having experimented with various genres and narrative forms (La stazione, 1990; The blonde, 1993; Extraordinary performance, 1994; Il journey of the bride, 1997), he made All the love that exists (2000), an evocation with nostalgic tones of a summer of the seventies, and proposed a style that favors visionary visual elements in L’anima gemella (2002)). Also in the works of Gianluca Maria Tavarelli (Portami via, 1994; Un amore, 1999; Qui è non il Paradiso, 2000) the analysis of the existential anxieties of characters fleeing from their world returns; while Alessandro D’Alatri, former director of commercials, passed from the reenactment of the period (the Veneto of 1934 by Americano rosso, 1991) to religious themes (I Giardini dell’Eden, 1998), favoring instead the investigation of everyday life in sentimental comedies (Senza pelle, 1994; Casomai, 2002). The theme of memory (often centered on the story of the experiences of a group of friends) characterized the first part of the work of Gabriele Salvatores who subsequently accentuated his visionary style with the science fiction Nirvana (1997) and then with Denti (2000). In Giuseppe Tornatore, on the other hand, already in the first films and then in Malèna (2000), the tones of the sentimental comedy appeared much more nuanced; in fact, the past is read by the director in an emphatically melancholy key and tends to emphasize the regrets more than the memories of the characters. the tones of the sentimental comedy appeared much more nuanced; in fact, the past is read by the director in an emphatically melancholy key and tends to emphasize the regrets more than the memories of the characters. the tones of the sentimental comedy appeared much more nuanced; in fact, the past is read by the director in an emphatically melancholy key and tends to emphasize the regrets more than the memories of the characters.

Italy Cinematography - The Comedy