The King of Laughter

Directed by Mario Martone
Film Movement
2021
133 Minutes
Italy, Spain
Italian
Biography, Drama
Not Rated

At the beginning of the 20th century, in Belle Époque Naples, theatres and the cinema were thriving. The great comic actor Eduardo Scarpetta was the king of the box office. Of humble origin, he made his reputation with his comedies and the character of Felice Sciosciammocca. The theatre was his life and around the theatre gravitated the whole of his peculiar family, composed of wives, partners, lovers and legitimate and illegitimate children, including Titina, Eduardo and Peppino De Filippo.
In 1904, at the height of his popularity, Scarpetta took a great risk: he staged a parody of La figlia di Iorio, a tragedy written by the greatest Italian poet of the day, Gabriele D’Annunzio. The evening of its première in the theatre all hell broke loose: the performance was interrupted by boos and catcalls and Scarpetta ended up being sued for plagiary by D’Annunzio himself. It was the beginning of the first ever lawsuit on copyright in Italy.
The years that the case took would be draining for him and his whole family. Everything in Scarpetta’s life seemed to be falling apart, but with the act of a great thespian he would take his fate into his own hands and win in the end.

Director & Cast

Trailer

Photos

Reviews

  • "The King of Laughter is a feast of a film.... It’s a dazzling and technically brilliant feat, the work of an ambitious, experienced and passionate director. "
    Lovia Gyarkye, The Hollywood Reporter
  • "The King of Laughter avails itself of a classic set-up but benefits from the lightness of comedy. It won’t disappoint those expecting a paradigmatic story about art, power, betrayal and passion, not least for the high-quality actors in its cast, the musicality of the Neapolitan dialect (which sounds as if it were made to be recited), the sumptuous set design offered up by Giancarlo Muselli and Carlo Rescigno, the costumes created by Ursula Patzak, the amber hues applied by Swiss master Renato Berta and the beautiful songs of the era."
    Camillo De Marco, Cineuropa
Nominated
Golden Lion
Venice Film Festival