Even though we will focus primarily on Arbore as a director, his first experience with film was as an actor in the 1971 movie "Giú la testa" ("Down the head") directed by Demofilio Fidani. In the same year and with the same director, he also plays the part of the sheriff in "Per una bara piena di dollari" ("For a casket full of dollars").
Exactly ten years later, in 1981, Arbore writes, directs, and interprets "Il Papocchio" an amusing satire mixing sacred and profane. Even though the movie had immediate success, it was retracted from distribution thanks to a court order in response to accusations that the film was explicitly attacking the Vatican. It was forbidden to even promote the movie by showing scenes or images from it. Arbore's response was brilliant when, during a television program, he presented his film by projecting only white light on a screen and simulating great amusement from the group watching while retelling the various scenes from his movie. The only one out of synch was the usually lost and absent-minded Roberto Benigni who could not understand what was going on and what was so amusing. Arbore shook him up and reproached, "you never have any fun… why is the audience laughing so much with so little…"
Together with Arbore and Benigni, the movie casts Andy Luotto, Mariangela Melato, Isabella Rossellini, Diego Abatantuono, Silvia Annicchiarico, Luciano De Crescenzo, Le Sorelle Bandiera… practically the whole gang of "L'altra Domenica".
A year later, Arbore acted in "Quasi quasi mi sposo" ("Maybe I'll get married") directed by Vittorio Sindoni, and three years later, in 1985, he edited the sound track of "Il mistero di Bellavista" ("The Mystery of Bellavista"), written and directed by Luciano De Crescenzo.
1983 is the year of "FF.SS, Cioè: che mi hai portato a fare sopra a Posillipo se non mi vuoi più bene?" ("FF.SS. or: why did you take me up to Posilippo if you don't love me anymore?"), a movie with an innovative, theatrical, and self-mocking humor, written and directed by Arbore, who also plays the part of Onliù Caporetto. It's the story of a talent agent from Naples, with exaggeratedly dark complexion and boorish manners (who is then scandalized in a Roman trattoria by the unspeakable gesture of the customer at the next table…) and a hairdo in between Gullit and Branduardi. He is trying to promote a talented young woman singer (Lucia, interpreted by Pietra Montecorvino) and will take her step by step all the way to the Sanremo Festival. The other actors are all famous names: Pietra Montecorvino, Pippo Baudo, Roberto Benigni, Isabella Biagini, Gianni Boncompagni, Dino Cassio, Alfredo Cerruti, Maurizio Costanzo, Luciano De Crescenzo, Lory del Santo, Gerardo Gargiulo, Isaac George, Cesare Gigli, Renato Guttuso, Andy Luotto, Nando Martellini, Sandra Milo, Gianni Minà, Domenico Modugno, Nando Murolo, Stella Pende, Gigi Proietti, Teodoro Ricci, Bobby Solo, Massimo Troisi, Luciana Turina, Claudio Villa e Martufello... It is an orgy of exhilarating performances, including the unforgettable Gigi Proietti (picture on the left).
Arbore acts again in the 1989 "Odore della pioggia" ("The smell of rain"), a comedy directed by Nico Cirasola and in the 2000 "Fratello Minore" ("Youngest Brother"), directed by Stefano Gigli.
What follows are two scenes from "Il Papocchio" and two from "FF.SS."



A cura di Denis Gianniberti