Movie of the day: Qui rido io by Mario Martone

After the beautiful adaptation of Eduardo’s Il sindaco del Rione Sanità that was presented in Venice in 2019, Mario Martone continues his research about the tradition of Neapolitan theatre with Qui rido io. Toni Servillo plays the great actor and writer Eduardo Scarpetta. Servillo and Martone have worked together for over 30 years, they started on stage first with the company Falso Movimento and then with Teatri Uniti. They debuted on the big screen together as well, Martone directing Morte di un matematico napoletano (1992) and they continued their professional relationship through the years with Rasoi, I Vesuviani (episode La salita), Teatri di guerra and Noi Credevamo.

Qui rido io is the highest point of this partnership and brings us to Naples at the beginning of the 20th Century. Eduardo Scarpetta is the king of the box office. He was born very poor, then he became a very rich man thanks to his comedies and his main character Felice Sciosciammocca that was loved by the Neapolitan audience as much as Pulcinella. Theatre was Scarpetta’s life and everything floated around it, first of all, his peculiar family was made of wives, lovers, legitimate and illegitimate sons. Among the latter were Titina, Eduardo e Peppino De Filippo. At the height of his success Scarpetta decided to bring on stage the parody of Gabriele D’Annunzio’s La figlia di Iorio.  D’Annunzio was the most loved Italian living poet of that time. The opening night was interrupted by screams and whistles by young poets and playwrights and D’Annunzio himself decided to sue Scarpetta for plagiarism. This is the first historic Italian sue for copyright. It was a devastating trial and Scarpetta risked losing everything, but he challenged fate and won thanks to his last great performance.

«All of us face particular events during our lives and these events change our perception of the world as much as our way of telling stories», Mario Martone told us two years ago during an event organized by Ciak for the Venice Days. «While working with Falso Movimento I used to make movies on stage mixing different languages and when it wasn’t enough anymore I stopped mixing and started to make actual movies. Morte di un matematico napoletano was my debut and the first of a trilogy completed by L’amore molesto e Teatro di guerra». 

Maybe Qui rido io is the second step of a trilogy about Neapolitan Theatre.

Who is Edoardo Scarpetta?

Odoardo Lucio Facisso Vincenzo Scarpetta, aka Eduardo Scarpetta (1853 – 1925) is the most important Neapolitan playwriter and from his loins was born the dynasty  Scarpetta – De Filippo. He was hired at 15 in the company of Antonio Petito and in 1870 reached success with his character Felice Sciosciammocca.

He bought Teatro San Carlino and in 10 years became a successful Artistic Director writing and playing a hundred memorable pièces (‘Na Santarella, Miseria e nobiltà). He had 9 children, not all recognized such as EduardoPeppino e Titina De Filippo.

The sue from  Gabriele D’Annunzio arrived at the most successful moment of his career. When he died at his funeral the hearse was trained by his fans. Scarpetta was embalmed and buried in a crystal coffin. He lies in the chapel of De Filippo, Scarpetta and Viviani families at the cemetery of Santa Maria del Pianto in Naples.


Italy / Spain 2021. Directed by Mario Martone. With Toni Servillo, Maria Nazionale, Cristiana Dell’Anna, Antonia Truppo, Eduardo Scarpetta, Roberto De Francesco, Lino Musella, Paolo Pierobon, Gianfelice Imparato, Iaia Forte. Lenght 133’

Indigo Film with Rai Cinema in co-production with Tornasol. 01 Distribution

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