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movie had immediate success, it was retracted from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
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
What follows are two scenes from "Il Papocchio"
and two from "FF.SS."