The King of Laughter

At the beginning of the 20th century, in Belle Époque Naples, theatres and the cinema were thriving. The great comic actor Eduardo Scarpetta was the king of the box office. Of humble origin, he made his reputation with his comedies and the character of Felice Sciosciammocca. The theatre was his life and around the theatre gravitated the whole of his peculiar family, composed of wives, partners, lovers and legitimate and illegitimate children, including Titina, Eduardo and Peppino De Filippo.
In 1904, at the height of his popularity, Scarpetta took a great risk: he staged a parody of La figlia di Iorio, a tragedy written by the greatest Italian poet of the day, Gabriele D’Annunzio. The evening of its première in the theatre all hell broke loose: the performance was interrupted by boos and catcalls and Scarpetta ended up being sued for plagiary by D’Annunzio himself. It was the beginning of the first ever lawsuit on copyright in Italy.
The years that the case took would be draining for him and his whole family. Everything in Scarpetta’s life seemed to be falling apart, but with the act of a great thespian he would take his fate into his own hands and win in the end.

DIRECTOR’S NOTES:
For the whole of his life the great Eduardo De Filippo refused to ever talk about Scarpetta as a father, only as a man of the theatre. After his brother Peppino painted a pitiless portrait of their father in an autobiography, Eduardo never spoke to him again. He was interviewed shortly before his death by a writer friend: “Now we are old, the time has come to say something about it: was Scarpetta a strict father or a bad father?” The answer was the same as ever: “He was a great actor”.
Qui rido io is the imaginary story of Eduardo Scarpetta and his tribe.