Sabina Guzzanti

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Sabina Guzzanti
Sabina Guzzanti.jpg
Sabina Guzzanti in 2008
Born (1963-07-25) 25 July 1963 (age 57)
OccupationSatirist, Actress, Writer, Director, Producer
Height1.67 m (5 ft 6 in)
Parent(s)Paolo Guzzanti (father)
AwardsEuropean Film Awards - Best Documentary Award
2005 Viva Zapatero! (Nominated)
Sundance Film Festival - Grand Jury Prize
2006 Viva Zapatero! (Nominated)

Sabina Guzzanti (born 25 July 1963) is an Italian satirist, actress, writer and producer whose work is devoted to examining social and political life in Italy.

Early life[edit]

Born in Rome as the eldest daughter of celebrated Italian political commentator and journalist Paolo Guzzanti (former senator of Forza Italia, incumbent deputy and deputy secretary for Italian liberal party), she graduated from the Academy of Dramatic Arts of Rome.[1] Her first appearances on stage were at the side of her brother Corrado, a skilled comedian known for parody and imitation.


Guzzanti's career began when she took part in a series of successful television comedy formats such as Proffimamente... non-stop (directed by Enzo Trapani), L'araba fenice (directed by Antonio Ricci), La TV delle ragazze and Scusate l'interruzione;[2] her imitations of the famous Italian porn star Moana Pozzi gave her popularity, and the Italian film director Giuseppe Bertolucci recruited her to star in his film The Camels (I Cammelli).[1] Her career in this period was at its apex, as she starred in several films, toured Italian theatres with her own comedy shows (such as Con fervido zelo in 1991, and Non io: Sabina e le altre in 1994[2]), and even held her one-woman show La posta del cuore. Her first attempt at directing is the 1998 short Donna selvaggia.

In November 2003 Sabina Guzzanti wrote, directed and was featured in the first and only installment of Raiot, a late-night TV political satire show broadcast on Rai Tre. After lampooning Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, she was sued by Berlusconi's Mediaset lawyers (notably Cesare Previti's law firm) for "lies and insinuation" and the show was pulled amid controversy; in the suing document Previti defined satire as "that thing which tends to minimize and to make a politician likeable, to diminish the social tensions" ("quella cosa che tende a sdrammatizzare e a rendere simpatico un politico, a diminuire le tensioni sociali"[3]) as the basis to accuse the show of not being satirical but a direct political attack. As a form of protest, the second instalment was recorded live in the Auditorium of Rome and broadcast by independent television networks; during the event among others Dario Fo, Beppe Grillo and Daniele Luttazzi gave her their support.[4] After that Sabina Guzzanti announced that the only official instalment of Raiot had completely vanished from the RAI's archives.[3]

As a form of protest against the censorship imposed on Raiot, Sabina Guzzanti shot her side of the story in the film Viva Zapatero (2005) in which she condemns the lack of freedom of expression in Italy.[5] Viva Zapatero! premiered at Venice Film Festival and was met with acclaim.[6] The movie has also been invited to screen at a number of other International Film Festival: Tribeca Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival and San Sebastian.[7]

At the end of 2005 she was once again allowed on television to feature in the last installment of Adriano Celentano's show Rockpolitik, but the producers "forbade" her to speak about Berlusconi.[8] After the victory of L'Unione in the 2006 elections and the progressive fading of Berlusconi's influence on the RAI, she declared she still wouldn't return to work at the RAI unless serious reforms were launched to make the company's management independent from the politicians.[9]

In 2007 she direct her second movie, Sympathy for the Lobster (Le Ragioni dell’Aragosta), a comedy which featured the comedians from Avanzi, a popular political satire show much in vogue in the early nineties.

In July 2008, in front of thousands of onlookers at Piazza Navona, Rome, Guzzanti made contrary remarks about the Pope Benedict XVI, saying that he would be dead in 20 years, and would end up in hell as punishment for the Church's treatment of homosexuals, saying that he would soon be "tormented by great big demons - and very (sexually) active ones". Although threatened with punishments of up to five years in prison for these comments, she was not prosecuted.[10] After these events Guzzanti explained her side of the story in the theatrical drama Vilipendio!.[11]

In 2010 her third featured film, Draquila. Italy Trembles (Draquila), was screened out of competition at the Cannes Film Festival.[12] It's a report of the events tied to the earthquake in L’Aquila.

In 2011 Guzzanti directs Franca la Prima, her personal homage to an important actresses in Italy, Franca Valeri.[13]

During the same year Guzzanti was back on the stage with Sì, Sì, Sì….oh Sì!, a humorous voyage through Italy's most important personalities from both the social and political sphere.[14]

In March 2012 Guzzanti returned to TV with a new show, Un due tre…Stella! on La7.[15]

In 2014, her last featured film, The State Mafia Pact (La Trattativa), was screened at the 71st Venice Film Festival. It's a reconstruction of one of the dark periods of Italian history: the negotiation between Italian State and Cosa Nostra during the 90s and its effect on democracy.[16]

In the summer of 2015 Guzzanti starred in a new project, a web news satire called TG Porco which was financed by crowdfunding.[17]

In the same year she returned to the theatre once again with her show Come ne venimmo fuori. Proiezioni dal futuro, a satiric monologue on the post-capitalist and neo-liberal policies.[18]

Since 1987, Sabina Guzzanti has practiced Nichiren Buddhism as a member of the global Buddhist association Soka Gakkai International.[19]


Sabina Guzzanti is accused by various actors, politicians and writers of "aggression" against certain figures, mainly Silvio Berlusconi and his supporters. She has also derided the cancer of the journalist Oriana Fallaci,[20][21] when during Fallaci's parody, a man shouted " May you as well get a cancer" (Che ti venga un cancro), and Guzzanti reply "I also already have it; and may it come to your mother too " (Ce l'ho già e venisse anche alla tua mamma). She also insulted Pope Benedict XVI and former Minister of Equal Opportunity Mara Carfagna, who was accused by Guzzanti of fellating Berlusconi, as reported by Carfagna herself.[22][23]

After the scandal of the alleged "Madoff of Parioli," Sabina Guzzanti admitted to having given money to investors, as well. Aware of having been a victim of a scam, she said that she "felt like an idiot", claiming to have put in 150,000 €. Such revelation sparked another series of controversies, since during her speeches and her shows, she had always declared her opposition to this kind of practice, deemed typical of tax evaders. Guzzanti would have received - had everything gone as promised - earnings on her investments abroad, then exempt from taxation, within Italy itself.[24]




  • Reperto RaiOt., published by BUR Biblioteca Universale Rizzoli, 2005
  • Viva Zapatero!, published by BUR Biblioteca Universale Rizzoli, 2005
  • Il diario di Sabna Guzz, published by Einaudi, 2003
  • Mi consenta una riflessione (anche se non è il mio ramo), published by Baldini Castoldi Dalai, 2002


  1. ^ a b Biography on
  2. ^ a b Profile on La Repubblica's website - Cinema section.
  3. ^ a b Interview with Sabina Guzzanti, excerpt from an article of L'Unità
  4. ^ Kataweb | Speciali | Raiot all'Auditorium
  5. ^ Bradshaw, Peter (21 July 2006). "Viva Zapatero!". the Guardian. Retrieved 23 January 2018.
  6. ^ Weissberg, Jay (26 September 2005). "Viva Zapatero!". Variety. Retrieved 23 January 2018.
  7. ^ "Festival e premi: Viva Zapatero! (2005) -". su Retrieved 23 January 2018.
  8. ^ Silvio? Non gradivano, ho trattato sulle battute, interview with Gino Castaldo for La Repubblica
  9. ^ La Guzzanti: non tornerò in una Rai lottizzata dall’Unione, interview with Paolo Conti for Corriere della Sera
  10. ^ Phil Stewart. Comic escapes prosecution for insulting pope, Reuters, 19 Sept. 2008
  11. ^ "Vilipendio Tour, satira in musica con Sabina Guzzanti - Il Sole 24 ORE". Retrieved 23 January 2018.
  12. ^ "Draquila: Italy Trembles -- Film Review". Retrieved 23 January 2018.
  13. ^ "Roma s'inchina a Franca Valeri". Retrieved 23 January 2018.
  14. ^ "Sì, sì, sì… oh, sì! – Persinsala Teatro". (in Italian). Retrieved 23 January 2018.
  15. ^ Online, Redazione. ""Un, due, tre stella": Sabina Guzzanti torna in tv". Corriere della Sera (in Italian). Retrieved 23 January 2018.
  16. ^ Weissberg, Jay (16 September 2014). "Film Review: 'The State-Mafia Pact'". Variety. Retrieved 23 January 2018.
  17. ^ "Sabina Guzzanti: "TgPorco? Se vi è piaciuto aiutateci a produrlo". La campagna di crowdfunding - Il Fatto Quotidiano". Il Fatto Quotidiano (in Italian). 17 November 2015. Retrieved 23 January 2018.
  18. ^ "Sabina Guzzanti: "Sul palco per dirvi dal futuro quanto eravamo feroci nel 2015"". Spettacoli - La Repubblica (in Italian). 14 October 2015. Retrieved 23 January 2018.
  19. ^ Article on Buddismo e Società
  20. ^ Sabina Guzzanti deride the Oriana Fallaci's cancer - YouTube
  21. ^ Come la Guzzanti derideva il cancro di Oriana Fallaci, Quelsi Quotidiano, 12 August 2011
  22. ^ Sabina Guzzanti, la Carfagna chiede un milione di danni. L'attrice: «Bella donna ma che tariffe», Il Messaggero, 9 October 2008
  23. ^ Sabina Guzzanti diffamò Mara Carfagna L'attrice costretta a pagare 40mila euro, il Corriere del Mezogiorno, 9 October 2012
  24. ^ I rivoluzionari adessocadono sulla pensione, Il Giornale, 1 February 2012

External links[edit]