Monday, 05 December 2022 16:33

Italia Experience and the "hurricane" Paolo Villaggio: comic icon captivates Madrid with docufilm "La voce di Fantozzi"

The project is co-financed by the Ministry of Culture – Directorate­-General for Cinema and Audiovisual

Accountant Ugo Fantozzi won the hearts of all Italians: the character invented and played by Paolo Villaggio -one of Italy's most famous comic masks, inspired by his memories as an office employee in Genoa- debuted in 1975 with Luciano Salce's film, the first chapter in a series that portrayed a specific time in Italian society. Fantozzi was the protagonist of the second day of Italia Experience in Madrid, the Giffoni project co-financed by the Ministry of Culture – Directorate­-General for Cinema and Audiovisual. The initiative is being carried out with the support of the 15th edition of the Madrid Italian Film Festival, organized by the Italian Cultural Institute, directed by Marialuisa Pappalardo.

The hapless, clumsy, awkward employee charmed the audience by portraying the average Italian guy's wish for the redemption provided by the so-called "economic miracle". "Fantozzi proves to be an immortal comic character because he is so comforting", explained director Pappalardo. "He makes you think that you are not the only one who is unlucky and clumsy". The film LA VOCE DI FANTOZZI by Mario Sesti, presented by producers Daniele Liburdi and Massimo Mescia (Volume Entertainment), received thunderous applause in the theater. The film revolves around the story of one of the most beloved comedians of Italian cinema, an icon who influenced popular imagination, culture and language of an entire country like no other, joining immortal artists such as Charlie Chaplin, Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy and Totò. The film features Paolo Villaggio, in his last and moving performance, along with exceptional Italian personalities such as Nobel laureate Dario Fo and Oscar winner Roberto Benigni.

"This work was entirely made together with Paolo Villaggio," the producers explained. "He was not only the subject of the film; he worked on its conception and realization with us. He wrote the dialogues of the various cameos; this is his last work. Everybody during the making of the film was enthusiast and aware of the fact that we were portraying a genius who would remain in our hearts forever".

Even before being a popular icon of Italian cinema, Fantozzi was a literary character who originated from the collaboration between Paolo Villaggio and the publishing house Rizzoli, which published his first adventures in the early 1970s. "Villaggio innovated the language, coining new neologisms," continued Liburdi and Mescia. "He completely revolutionized all the fields he stepped into: cinema, comedy, literature, sociology. A hurricane that swept over everything".