La Stranezza: cinema, Sicily and Pirandello

La StranezzaIt has been released a few days ago but it is already a success. La Stranezza, the film directed by Roberto Andò starring Toni Servillo together with Ficarra & Picone, takes the viewer into an almost forgotten Sicily. The story begins in Girgenti when Luigi Pirandello meets Onofrio Principato and Bastiano Vella, two undertakers who have a great passion for the theater. The plot mixes real and imaginary, this is the path that will lead up to the debut of ‘Six characters in search of an author’, one of the Sicilian author’s masterpieces.

La Stranezza
Salvo Ficarra, Toni Servillo and Valentino Picone – Credits: (Photo by Lia Pasqualino)

La Stranezza begins in 1920, in Girgenti. Luigi Pirandello returns to Sicily for the birthday of his friend Giovanni Verga and once in the city he discovers that his nurse (played by Rori Quattrocchi) has just passed away. This is how the writer meets two undertakers (Ficarra & Picone) that are also theater enthusiasts with an amateur comedy (or perhaps a drama!) almost ready to debut. The narration is articulated around the events of these three characters, in some way linked to each other. The theater is constantly the backdrop.

Pirandello is living a tough moment in which he is no longer able to create and complete his work, his characters are ‘on hold’. He imagines them, sees them, in his mind he even meets them and does it as if they were alive, tangible.
La Stranezza moves in a labyrinth made of truth and fiction, the tormented soul of Pirandello is twisted with some hilarious moments, fragments that will be essential to end his masterpiece ‘Six characters in search of an author’.


‘Six characters in search of an author’, from the flop to the Nobel Prize

One of the key-passages of La Stranezza is the debut in Rome, on May 9th 1921, of ‘Six characters in search of an author’. Pirandello invites Onofrio and Bastiano, who, surprised but happy, are seated in the stalls for the premiere of the show. Unfortunately, the debut for the Sicilian writer was a flop, perhaps because the show was considered too conceptional, it was booed and scorned. But you know, not all beautiful things are immediately understood. In fact, this work lately became the greatest worldwide success of Pirandello, who won the Nobel Prize in literature in 1934.

However, the film ends in 1921, when the curtain is closed. Silence, the theater is empty. Inside, there are only the two undertakers who feel lost. Disoriented, confused. And this is where the magic happens: the finale is a sort of question for the viewers, is open and can be interpreted in different ways: who are these two characters? Are they real? Were they the figment of Pirandello’s imagination? The atmosphere is surreal, the last scene recalls how life and representation can often overlap and be confused.


La Stranezza, a Sicilian story

Roberto Andò directs an exceptional cast, with three superlative actors such as Toni Servillo, Salvo Ficarra and Valentino Picone, together with a parterre of many Sicilian actors. The narration of La Stranezza alternates moments of giddiness with some typical features of the comedy of errors, with a bit of drama…just enough. The dialogues in dialect give emphasis, characterize the characters of Ficarra & Picone and their comedians, contrasting them with the cultured Pirandello. The screenplay is written by Andò together with Massimo Gaudioso and Ugo Chiti, a well-paced and pleasant text that takes the charm and mystery of masks and red velvet, that spell called theater, onto the big screen of movie theaters.

From cinema to reality! If you liked La Stranezza, don’t miss the chance to visit Sicily with Dimensione Sicilia! Discover our tours and keep on following Sicilian Secretsread the articles on our blog and the interviews, without forgetting the news on our Facebook page and Instagram.

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