Here I laugh: the film with Toni Servillo and the true story of Eduardo Scarpetta
Always divided between cinema and theater, in 2021 the director Mario Martone has again conjugated the two with Here I laugh (here the review), with which he brought to the big screen the story of the life of the famous actor and playwright Eduardo Scarpetta, who lived in Naples between the second half of the 19th century and the first two decades of the 20th century. In particular, however, Martone focuses on recounting a specific episode in Scarpetta’s life, the one relating to the trial for plagiarism of a work by Gabriele D’Annunzio. A case that has given rise to a particularly important precedent in the artistic world and which is reproposed here and allows us to reflect on the concept of comedy and author.
The Scarpetta-De Filippo dynasty is another of the central elements of the film. Particularly articulated and full of identical names that recur, this has covered the entire twentieth century. Also following the events of several family members, many of whom are on the verge of obtaining fame that has grown and consolidated over time, Here I laugh therefore it also becomes the portrait of a very powerful man at the time of his decline, with the vast empire built around him starting to fall apart and take different directions. Martone, therefore, goes beyond the simple biographical film to reconstruct an era, its characters, its vices, its contradictions and his artistic legacy.
The plot and the cast of Here I laugh
The story opens in the early twentieth century, when Eduardo Scarpetta he is an already established and very popular theater man. His replies of Poverty and nobility they are always sold out and the success seems destined to never end. In this climate of euphoria, Scarpetta allows himself a dangerous gamble: he creates a parody of Iorio’s daughtertragedy of the greatest Italian poet of the time, Gabriele D’Annunzio. At the time of the debut, the comedy is interrupted by shouts and whistles and Scarpetta ends up being denounced for plagiarism by the Vate himself. Thus begins the first historic lawsuit on copyright in Italy, which will deeply shake Scarpetta and his rich family made up of wives, lovers and legitimate and illegitimate children.
To interpret Eduardo Scarpetta there is Tony Servillolater awarded the Pasinetti Award for best actor at the Venice Film Festival, where the film was presented. Mary National plays his wife Rosa De Filippo, with whom he had the children Maria and Vincenzo, played respectively by Greta Esposito and Eduardo Scarpettawith the latter being a descendant of the Scarpetta family. Christian Dell’Anna instead plays Luisa De Filippo, granddaughter of Rosa and from whom Scarpetta had the children Titina, Peppino and Eduardo De Filippo, played here by the young Marzia Onorato, Savior the Baptist And Alessandro Manna. They are later included in the cast also Antonia Truppo in the role of Adelina De Renzis, Gianfelice Learned in those of Gennaro Pantalena e Paolo Pierobon as Gabriele D’Annunzio.
Here I laugh, the true story of Eduardo Scarpetta
Born in 1853 and died in 1925, Eduardo Scarpetta lived his entire life in Naples, where he enjoyed undisputed popularity and power. However, it is not on his training that Martone focuses, but on one of the last episodes of his life and one of his most unquestionably important. As also told in the film, around 1904 Scarpetta attends a theatrical performance in Rome by Iorio’s daughterdrama in three acts by Gabriele D’Annunzio. Impressed by that work, Scarpetta decides to pay homage to it in his own way, writing a parody entitled Iorio’s sonwhere to mock the redundant poetic talent of D’Annunzio, turning the plot upside down and transforming the male performers into females and vice versa.
Rosa, Scarpetta’s wife, expressed all her dissent to her husband’s project for the representation of a parody that questioned the resounding success of the work of a fashionable poet with such a high opinion of his own genius. Abandoning comedies with the character of Felice Sciosciammocca, who had given them so much artistic and material satisfaction, also seemed too risky a gamble. But Scarpetta did not let himself be convinced by his wife and before staging the new text, as a novelty with respect to his famous Poverty and Nobility, he will ask for D’Annunzio’s approval. According to reports, the poet would have appreciated Scarpetta’s parody but fearing repercussions on the credibility of his work, he denied consent to the representation.
This consent, however, was communicated to Scarpetta when it was already too late to suspend the show. On 3 December 1904 it was therefore staged at the Mercadante theater in Naples Iorio’s son. However, in the audience there were infatuated D’Annunzio fans who at the beginning of the second act, just as Scarpetta entered the scene in women’s clothing, began to rail against the actor, who was forced to bring down the curtain. Moreover, after a few days, Scarpetta found himself sued for plagiarism and counterfeiting by Mark Prague, director general of the Italian Society of Authors and Publishers (SIAE). The news immediately aroused reactions in the international arena and in Italian public opinion.
There was even the intervention of writers such as Savior of James in support of D’Annunzio and philosophers like Benedetto Croce in favor of Scarpetta. The court dispute soon took on the tone of a literary clash between the high art of the Italian poetic tradition of the Iorio’s daughter and that plebeian dialect and vulgarly mocking the Iorio’s son. This therefore became the first trial in Italy concerning copyright. The lawsuit lasted until 1908, when the court issued a sentence in which it declared that Eduardo Scarpetta was not to proceed because the fact did not constitute a crime, thus giving a stamp of legitimacy to all the subsequent parodies that would characterize the history of the show.
The trailer of Here I laugh and where to watch the film in streaming and on TV
You can enjoy Here I laugh thanks to its presence on some of the most popular streaming platforms on the net today. This is in fact available in the catalogs of Rakuten TV, Google Play, Apple TV, Amazon Prime Videos and RaiPlay. To see it, once the reference platform has been chosen, it will be enough to rent the single film or subscribe to a general subscription. In this way you will be able to watch it in total comfort and at the best video quality. The film is also present in the television schedule of Sunday 21 May at 21:25 On the canal Rai 1.