Il Marchese del Grillo

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Il Marchese del Grillo
Il Marchese del Grillo.jpg
Directed by Mario Monicelli
Produced by Renzo Rossellini, Luciano De Feo
Written by Bernardino Zapponi, Leo Benvenuti, Piero De Bernardi, Mario Monicelli, Alberto Sordi, Tullio Pinelli
Starring Alberto Sordi, Paolo Stoppa, Flavio Bucci, Camillo Milli, Riccardo Billi
Music by Nicola Piovani
Cinematography Sergio D'Offizi
Edited by Ruggero Mastroianni
Release dates
  • 1981 (1981)
Running time 139 minutes
Country Italy
France
Language Italian

Il Marchese del Grillo ("The Marquess Del Grillo", internationally released as The Marquis of Grillo) is a 1981 Italian comedic motion picture directed by Mario Monicelli, starring Alberto Sordi as the titular character. The film depicts early nineteenth-century episodes in the life of a nobleman in Rome. Loosely based on folkloric accounts of the real Onofrio del Grillo (who lived in the eighteenth century), this character plays a number of pranks, one even involving Pope Pius VII. The famous line Io sò io, e vvoi nun zete un cazzo (literally "I am who I am, and you are fucking nothing"), is appropriated from Belli's 1831 sonnet, "The Sovrans of the Old World".

Plot[edit]

Rome, Year of our Lord 1809. The Pope Pius VII with his cardinals and ministers manages both temporal and spiritual power of the Papal States in Italy. The Marquis Onofrio del Grillo is one of his favorites, but even the worst of all the nobility. As a privileged and protected nobleman, Onofrio feels free to play his pranks on the poor people without any fear of the consequences. On one occasion, when he is arrested at a dinner with common criminals, he turns to the populace in a vulgar speech, claiming that his nobility allows him to do what he wants, and that they, being poor, are not worth anything. Memorable is the dispute between the poor Jew Aaron Piperno and the Marquis for the payment of a salary. Aaron is amazed when Onofrio refuses to pay with the argument that his creditor being a Jew is a murderer of Jesus. Aaron brings his case to court, but Onofrio wins the lawsuit by corrupting the judges and the cardinals. Piperno is condemned and mocked by the people, and Onofrio announces to the Pope that justice has just died in his States.

In the meantime the Pope has the French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte excommunicated, and when the conflict escalates, Onofrio is appointed commander of the Swiss Guards in Castel Sant'Angelo. Distracted by one of his pranks he fails in his task to defend the Papal garrison and the French guards penetrate the city to arrest the Pope. Onofrio quickly arranges himself with the new order and becomes friends with the young commander of the French regiment, much to the disappointment of his pious mother who claims that the French, as enemies of the Pope King, are also sworn enemies of God. She also predicts that Napoleon will sooner or later run out of luck and "end up with his butt on the ground".

With the French occupants a theater company arrives from Paris, introducing the novelty of real women for female roles. Due to the obtuseness of the Roman people the show proves a failure, but Onofrio takes the chance to start an affair with the singer Olympia. One night they go around the ruins of the Forum when they spot a drunken coalman who resembles the Marquis like a drop of water. Onofrio decides to play one of his jokes by changing roles. He instructs his servant to have the inconscious man dressed up as himself, while he will play the part of Gasperino the coalman. The next morning the poor drunkard wakes up in Onofrio's bed to find himself transformed into a marquis. His bad manners lead the family to believe that he is possessed by the spirit of a dead coalman, and Onofrio's uncle tries to have him exorcised. After the first shock Gasperino starts to adapt to his new role and some of his family find him even better than the real Marquis. But when the Pope returns after Napoleon's defeat he has Onofrio condemned and Gasperino risks to finish his life under the guillotine.

Cast[edit]

Awards[edit]

The film won two David di Donatello, four Nastri d'Argento in 1982. At the 32nd Berlin International Film Festival Mario Monicelli won the Silver Bear for Best Director.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Berlinale: 1982 Prize Winners". berlinale.de. Retrieved 2010-11-13. 

External links[edit]