He’s worked with Silvio Soldini and Margherita Buy in Giorni e Nuvole (Days and Clouds), Woody Allen in To Rome With Love, and most recently came to the Venice Film Festival with L’Intrepido, competing for the Leone D’Oro, but to me, actor Antonio Albanese is Cetto La Qualunque.
The 2011 film Qualunquemente left me walking out of the theater in horror, but it delighted audiences all over Italy and it got a big standing ovation when it premiered at the Berlinale (The Berlin Film Festival).
Qualunquemente (Whateverly) is about Cetto, a guy that runs for mayor to get himself out of some local legal problems. Cetto’s campaign slogan is “Pilu per tutti” and I had to look that one up – my Italian teacher didn’t tell me about “pilu” – it’s Calabrian dialect and means tail or booty. “Vote for Cetto, More Tail For Everyone”. The first time I watched it I could only think of how much it reminded me of the American TV show, “The Jersey Shore”. Maybe there was a part of Italy that those numbskulls could identify with.
What would Albanese say to Berlin before the screening of the grotesque, cynical, and bitter look at Calabria? Albanese’s response: “Maybe nothing. Maybe they should just be left to enjoy the film by themselves. After all, I don’t want them to think that’s a film about anything specific or any specific politics. I think that Cetto is a universal character and it speaks to our country and to all of Europe. Even around Berlin there are hundreds of Cetto La Qualunques all over the place.”
“I liked the character. I never thought of it as a reality show.” Good point. I hated Cetto so much that it affected the way I felt about the film, and I had to go back and watch it again to appreciate the sarcasm and the farce.
Albanese was asked, “Were you ever afraid that people would laugh “with” Cetto instead of “at” him?
“It’s a little like Coppola making the Godfather, and everybody that wanted to be godfathers. But I really don’t think they’ll laugh with him. If this happens it’s not my fault.”