Ugo Fantozzi

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Ugo Fantozzi
Fantozzi series of Italian films character
Ugo Fantozzi (Paolo Villaggio) in the film Il secondo tragico Fantozzi
First appearance Fantozzi (novel - 1971)
Fantozzi (1975 film)
Last appearance Fantozzi 2000 - La clonazione (film - 1999)
Tragica vita del ragionier Fantozzi (novel - 2012)
Created by Paolo Villaggio
Nickname(s) Fantocci, Pupazzi, Bambocci, Bacarozzi
Species Human
Occupation accountant
Spouse(s) Pina Fantozzi
Significant other(s) Miss Silvani
Children Mariangela Fantozzi (daughter)
Relatives Uga Fantozzi (granddaughter)
Nationality Italian

Ugo Fantozzi is a fictional character of Italian literature, created by Paolo Villaggio. His role is that of a hapless accountant who is fighting with the vices, the tortures and the changes in Italian society. What made the character famous is its extravagant exaggeration of customs and habits, in a manner so coarse and grotesque that immediately made Fantozzi the representative of Italy's lower middle class.

The character[edit]

The character was born in 1968 in a television program in which Paolo Villaggio plays a funny and quirky little man who was a stereotypical unlucky Italian bungler. The novel Fantozzi was published in 1971 in Italy by the publishing house Rizzoli; when it proved popular among readers, it was also released in various other European countries. Shortly thereafter Paolo Villaggio created another character considered the '"alter-ego" Fantozzi: Giandomenico Fracchia, another unlucky man, but one very mild and gentle. Ugo Fantozzi has an ugly and slovenly wife named Pina who is never satisfied, particularly in bed. He also has a daughter named Mariangela who is so ugly that everyone, even Fantozzi himself, mistakes her for a monkey. However, to spare her feelings, whenever he is around her he pretends that she is the most beautiful in the world, even more so than Rita Hayworth. Since Fantozzi's family atmosphere is so sad, he attempts to escape by having fun with his colleagues and especially with the comely Miss Silvani at Megaditta, the large company where he works. Fantozzi on many occasions tries unsuccessfully to woo her, making the most ignoble sacrifices to win a morsel of her attention. But Silvani is cruel and only uses him, pretending to love him, while going out continually with the surveyor Calboni.

Calboni believes himself to be the best and favorite among his colleagues and also the most attractive man at the company, but he, too, in the world of Fantozzi, is shown to be a loser. He treats all of his colleagues in the claims department, where Fantozzi also works, as if they are nothing more than his "subjects," and exploits and humiliates them. This dynamic was perfectly understood by Paolo Villaggio, who performed a caricature that portrayed the reality of a typical Italian company and of the human condition generally. But while Fantozzi's colleagues sell out their dignity and compete with each other to allow themselves to be treated like floor mats, Fantozzi the unfortunate accountant always tries to maintain his honor. Only one other person in the office understands what is really going on and he is even more unfortunate and ill-treated than the others. This is the accountant Fracchia, who exists only in the first two books of Fantozzi but later morphed into Silvio Filini, the nearly blind little man with gigantic glasses and a teasing attitude, able to wreak havoc by organizing meetings, games and trips that always turn out to be fatal to colleagues. Not only does Filini slaughter his friends, but he is also believed to be one that understands every gadget in the world and how they work, which also creates many problems for his colleagues and especially for Fantozzi when the group embarks on the notorious trips abroad. In fact, no one knows how to speak a foreign language, let alone English, and so Filini tries to formulate sentences using his skimpy knowledge of the language, mixing of different phonemes in Italian dialects.

Fantozzi in the books and in the movies[edit]

Paolo Villaggio

A few years after the release of the first two books of Paolo Villaggio Fantozzi, the director Luciano Salce will turn with the author two films, the most famous character in the series, titled Fantozzi (1975) and Il secondo tragico Fantozzi (1976). In 1980 the saga of films on the accountant will continue in the hands of director Neri Parenti, always with the interpretation of Paolo Villaggio, however, will not meet the first. Among the books and movies, there are some differences of Ugo Fantozzi. In fact, the stories and novels about the adventures of the character are the most disastrous and focused on the extreme misfortune of the accountant. Beyond that, the author exaggerates the canons of the protagonists in the stories by entering bestiality, homosexual priests and pedophiles, other humiliating scenes that touch the very bottom of shame for a human being and finally curses and blasphemies very elaborate. Paolo Villaggio achieved success just by taking various aspects typical of the Italian society of those times and deforming exaggerating and creating the book subspecies of monsters and ogres. In the movies instead directors and screenwriters, including Leo Benvenuti and Piero De Bernardi, tend to eliminate the most unsettling aspects of the book and gory, pies and playing a lot on the misadventures of the accountant with the family, with colleagues and during the trips organized by Filini. Also in films the great innovation that was made famous mispronunciation of the Italian subjunctive. In fact, if we pay attention conjugation of many Italian verbs in the subjunctive, especially for the imperfect or past tense, it is extremely difficult, and it can sometimes hurt combining the verb provoke the laughter of the interlocutors. Village played very well on this issue that was and is still present in Italian society, about the wrong use of the subjunctive. Speaking and higher Fantozzi we can say that these are very cruel in inflicting subjected to heavy work schedules while they do nothing and go on vacation with their families or worse with prostitutes who pay handsomely. Colleagues Fantozzi, since the attendants little maintenance control office, try to have fun too, being always in the company, playing table tennis or running out of time to put on makeup, as Miss Silvani, or even in the summer going to top floor of the company to take the sun on the deck made payment by other smart employees who pretend to be lifeguards. However Fantozzi always have to be on guard, in case pass the authorities of maintenance, and to fill the role of each employee pretending stamper, accountant, surveyor and clerk in waiting etc. Instead of thanking him, colleagues simply tease, also crippled his surname "Fantozzi" with the nicknames "Fantocci" (from puppet - fantoccio) or "Bambocci" (as a child cry-baby - bamboccio) or "Pupazzi" (pupazzo - puppet). This humiliation to inflict even Fantozzi the directors who, when the accountant attempts to fix, change name on purpose but never pronouncing his name correctly.

The soul of Fantozzi[edit]

Lo scapolo (The Bachelor): a film in which Alberto Sordi tries to ridicule aspects of typical Italian society of the lower middle class in the Sixties

Fantozzi is not always submissive, and can sometimes react ruthlessly. For example, in the second film, when his superior (Professor Riccardelli) forces him to watch old films on the Russian neo-realism. The most famous shows that the director is Battleship Potemkin (but in the film is playfully titled Battleship Kotiomkin to emphasize the tremendous nuisance it causes in the audience). Fantozzi initially, without observing the behavior of his fellow pimps and sycophants towards the beauty of the film, says that the projection is boring. However, it is mocked by his friends and humiliated by Riccardelli that defines a great shit (merdaccia), forcing his wife to admit the same. But one day Fantozzi has the courage to rebel and assert his dignity and also that of his colleagues, declaring loudly that the film was a "crazy shit!!" For his act of courage Fantozzi be applauded for 92 minutes and then massacre the head of a barrel, burn the movie film and barricherà in cinema. But the powerful forces above his superiors, who always have the power and it has always been shown in the story, stop the plan revolutionary Fantozzi. In fact, Professor Riccardelli force for some time his subjects to interpret one of the most important sequences of Kotiomkin Battleship, to demonstrate his power. Fantozzi try to rebel at one of his last films: Fantozzi to the Rescue (Fantozzi alla riscossa - 1990), in which he deciding finally to behave like a scoundrel as its directors to get more benefits so easy, is welcomed lovingly in the narrow and petty ranks of "powerful". In fact, up to that point Ugo Fantozzi, went for years in retirement, was summed up to be the object of ridicule and jokes always cruel on the part of new employees in the company where he worked. The directors held speeches in which young people urged them to be more cruel and cheats in life to get to the seats of government and higher power, and to show what happened to the honest and fools showed Fantozzi horrifying and depressing figure. So the accountant decides to change his life and groped the way of deception and theft, and soon became a great entrepreneur, manager, and finally even the Pope, with various positions.

The poster of the film Fracchia la belva umana (1981): the first movie who talks about the character

In fact, in Italy, as in other states, workers are assigned to major honors and several titles which are read and written in a bet. Paolo Villaggio to emphasize the cruelty and meanness of those who appropriate uses unworthily very scurrilous and derogatory epithets. This is the sad world in which Ugo Fantozzi is forced to live and who will never leave. Already Alberto Sordi had tried to represent this kind of mediocre Italian who thinks he can do everything about everything but in reality is a fool or incompetent, as in the films Lo scapolo and Il vedovo, but Paolo Villaggio, creating Fantozzi and Fracchia with their facets, had invented a new way to define this type of Italian. But the two characters, especially Fantozzi, due to their dignity and their gentle soul, good and pure, will be forced to endure the worst possible way in their suffering and will have to submit by force, even if sometimes they rebel, to the will of those who is the most powerful of them. And what they do in the most vile and painful, even touching self-harm.

Giandomenico Fracchia[edit]

Giandomenico Fracchia is the second most famous character created by Paolo Villaggio after Ugo Fantozzi.[citation needed] The two characters have much in common, regarding their level of ineptitude and submissiveness to more powerful characters. They misuse subjunctive Italian; for example, telling someone "come" ("venga"), they say "venghi". Fantozzi and Fracchia respond in such situations: "You turn to me in an informal manner?" (Lei mi ha dato del "tu"?).

Books about Fantozzi written by Paolo Vilaggio[edit]

  • Paolo Villaggio, Fantozzi, Milano, Rizzoli, 1971.
  • Paolo Villaggio, Il secondo tragico libro di Fantozzi, Milano, Rizzoli, 1974.
  • Paolo Villaggio, Le lettere di Fantozzi, Milano, Rizzoli, 1976.
  • Paolo Villaggio, Fantozzi contro tutti, Milano, Rizzoli, 1979.
  • Paolo Villaggio, Fantozzi subisce ancora, Milano, Rizzoli, 1983.
  • Paolo Villaggio, Caro direttore, ci scrivo... : lettere del tragico ragioniere, raccolte da Paolo Villaggio, Milano, *Mondadori, 1993.
  • Paolo Villaggio, Fantozzi saluta e se ne va: le ultime lettere del rag. Ugo Fantozzi, Milano, Mondadori, 1994.
  • Paolo Villaggio, Tragica vita del ragionier Fantozzi, Milano, Mondadori, 2012.

Other films that have characters similar to that of Fantozzi[edit]

During his film career, Paolo Villaggio played many other characters, but with the typical characteristics of Ugo Fantozzi and Giandomenico Fracchia.

  • Sogni mostruosamente proibiti, directed by di Neri Parenti (1982)
  • Pappa e ciccia, directed by Neri Parenti (1982)
  • I pompieri, directed by Neri Parenti (1985)
  • Scuola di ladri, directed by Neri Parenti (1986)
  • Missione eroica - I pompieri 2, directed by Giorgio Capitani (1987)
  • Scuola di ladri - Parte seconda, directed by Neri Parenti (1987)
  • Le comiche, directed by Neri Parenti (1990)
  • Le comiche 2, directed by Neri Parenti (1991)
  • Le nuove comiche, directed by Neri Parenti (1994)