Actor, writer, director and funny guy Carlo Verdone was in New York City a few years ago for Open Roads: New Italian Cinema. Out for a stroll on 5th Ave. he heard the familiar, “Carloooooooo!” Looking up he saw that it was a tourist from the top of a double-decker tour bus calling to him, most likely Italian, but a stranger that was acting like they were best buddies.
That’s because Verdone’s everybody’s best buddy, and at this year’s film festival in Rome it was no different. The calls from the crowd, “Carlooooooo!”,echoed the documentary about him, “Carlo!” directed by Fabio Ferzetti e Gianfranco Giagniand and presented out of competition.
A public hero, they called him at the press conference, “The man capable of maintaining a dialogue with the public for three decades”. Of himself, Verdone said it was a documentary about “a man who loves the people” and one of “many colors, melancholy and at the same time a fierce irony. That’s why it’s very difficult to define my comedy. I’m proud and touched by this sincere, authentic, and true portrait.”
Verdone talked about how lucky he was and about starting out in the clubs of Rome and then becoming an actor; about the 150,000.00 lire (about $100 American dollars) he was paid to act on stage for the first time, and about how Sergio Leone discovered him while channel surfing on late night TV.
“I was lucky to have a family that gave me a push – my father was very ironic and severe, and my mother was a true Roman who encouraged me to know my neighborhood and to notice funny things about it.”
“I wanted to be an autore, but I was always thinking a little about the public. It’s inevitable, when you make comedies.”
Due out soon on DVD, I’ll hope against hope that Carlo! will be released with subtitles and available outside Italy. Carlo Verdone is someone who everybody should know about.