The Fifth Wheel

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The Fifth Wheel (L'ultima ruota del carro)

The Fifth Wheel (L'ultima ruota del carro)

original title:

L'ultima ruota del carro

directed by:



set design:

costume design:


Elisa, Andrea Rigonat


Fandango, Warner Bros. Pictures, Ogi Film, in association with Banca Popolare di Vicenza, with the support of Regione Lazio

world sales:





film run:




release date:


Ernesto Marchetti is a house mover. He was only a boy playing soccer in the streets and living in a working-class suburb when his father explicitly explained once and for all a simple and painful concept: "you are the fifth wheel". Upholsterer, nursery school cook, house mover, chauffer, walk-on actor... the only way to get ahead in life for a fifth wheel is to move around constantly.
Ernesto travelled all around Italy with his inseparable truck, up and down stairs, loading or unloading furniture, one thousand relocations, two thousand houses, a journey lasting forty years: from black and white TV in the 1960s, to the gloomy colors of the 1970s, the yuppie period of the 1980s, to the Berlusconi era of the 1990s constructing a bridge towards the Third Millennium.
Ernesto got aboard the rumbling truck of History but never grasped the steering wheel. He remained in his seat, with his arm outside the window, watching the passing of time as if it were the roadside. Among scandals and dishonesty, hope and disappointments, tempests and sunny days, Ernesto is one of the many everyday heroes who, against all odds, have overcome the most insidious obstacles, remaining loyal to their families, friends and beliefs.

Director’s statement
I had known Ernesto Fioretti, a driver for a Roman production company, for several years; in his early sixties, he’d become a friend of mine, but I never thought that one day I’d be telling his life story on film. It all started on the day we’d finished a mediocre lunch at a highway rest stop and he said, “That was much worse than what I used to make when I cooked for a nursery school.” And I’d said, “What? Tell me about it...” And so, shifting back and forth in time like something out of a Harold Pinter play, Ernest began to flesh out his incredibly full life, with its major and minor events, its collective and private moments, all of them experienced from his privileged viewpoint as a jack-of-all-trades, and mainly a lorry driver. As he told his stories, nearly forty years of Italian history unfolded before my eyes, and it occurred to me that this discreet, disarmingly sincere individual had a surprising story to tell, full of coincidences, one with lessons for us all. Such a life instantly deserved to be put on screen!