A wild band in I più grandi di tutti, Carlo Virzì’s rock comedy at the Turin FF
by Vittoria Scarpa
01/12/2011 - "I’ve been waiting a lifetime to see an Italian film about a band, an imaginative comedy which would tell the misadventures of penniless musicians grappling with the utopia of rock'n'roll. I haven’t seen any around. So, I decided to make one". That is how, Carlo Virzì, brother of the more famous Paolo, for his second feature film (following L'estate del mio primo bacio [trailer]) invented a foul-mouthed provincial rock band, at the peak of moderate success in the '90s, the members of which hate each other, but whom the opportunity is given to reunite and rediscover themeselves. The result is I più grandi di tutti [trailer], screened in competition at the 29th Turin Film Festival, a bitter-sweet exploration of that underworld of rock music which inhabits rebellious characters, passionate but irrevocably mediocre, and– past the moment of glory – struggling with money problems and various frustrations.
Set in a small industrial town on the Tuscan coast, I più grandi di tutti’s main characters are the Pluto: Marco Cocci is Mao, a reckless singer, now a barman in a small local bar on the coast; Alessandro Roja is Loris, the spaced-out drummer, unemployed and with a seven-year-old son who is more responsible than him; Claudia Pandolfi is the incoherent bassist, she has shacked up with an estate agent and lives in a terraced house; Dario Kappa Cappanera is the talented guitarist, who will blame his former band mates for having ruined his life. Ludovico (Corrado Fortuna), who has become a music journalist, considers Pluto as "the absolute best" and reunites the band to shoot a documentary. With some reluctance, the four accept, motivated by money and by pity for this devout admirer, who is now confined to a wheelchair follwoing an accident.
Confirming the fact that getting to know one’s idol in person is often disappointing, the four reveal themselves argumentative and with not much to say, they hardly remember anything of the past because at the time they were always too "baked" and today they can’t even manage to string a couple of notes together. So, the situation is reversed and it will be ludovico who is moved by pity and to do something for them: taking them back on the stage for a final sensational concert. I più grandi di tutti is a fun film, free of rhetoric and authentic (the director himself, like the scombinati main characters, has a significant past as a rock musician, so he knows what he is talking about), produced by Gabriele Muccino’s Indiana Production and Paolo Virzì’s Motorino Amaranto di, in collaboration with Eagle Pictures, which is distributing it, and Rai Cinema.
(Translated from Italian)