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La Stranezza (Strangeness)

La Stranezza (Strangeness)

La Stranezza (Strangeness)

Dir. Roberto Andò
104 min

Introduction by Pieranna Garavaso, Professor Emerita of Philosophy, University of Minnesota Morris.


About the film

In 1921, Luigi Pirandello brought his most ground-breaking work, Six Characters in Search of an Author, to the stage in Rome’s Teatro Valle, a play which was so ground-breaking that at the end of the performance, a veritable tussle broke out, in which the audience shouted “shame!”, “madness!” and “fraud!” and made clear their disapproval of Pirandello’s audacious experiment. But how did the idea for this work, which tore down the fourth wall and broke mise en scene rules, come to the great Sicilian playwright, who would go on to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature 13 years later? Roberto Andò imagines the answer to this question in La Stranezza.

Toni Servillo stars as Luigi Pirandello, who, on a trip to his native Sicily in 1920, encounters a pair of gravediggers/aspiring actors and playwrights, Onofrio and Sebastiano (Italy’s ultra-popular comedy duo Salvo Ficarra and Valentino Picone), whose hilariously, charmingly amateurish, nightly stage productions stir Pirandello out of a creative blockage (complete with visions of characters waiting to come to life) and help him to arrive at the idea for what will ultimately become his masterpiece,

The film will be introduced by Pieranna Garavaso, Professor Emerita of Philosophy, University of Minnesota Morris. In addition, Prof. Garavaso will present the life and works of Luigi Pirandello and discuss the play Sei personaggi in cerca d'autore (Six Characters in Search of an Author) at The Italian Cultural Center of Minneapolis / St. Paul on February 3 and February 24, 2024. Don’t miss the opportunity to familiarize yourself with the life and works of Luigi Pirandello before attending the screening. Read more and register here.

Winner of the Donatello Award for Best Producer, Best Screenplay, Best Production Design, Best Costume Design, and the Nastro D’Argento winner for Best Director in 2023.

Excerpts from Vittoria Scarpa’s review on Cineuropa Magazine 10/22/2022

“(...) The film takes its cue from a real-life event: the journey undertaken by Pirandello (who borrows the features of Toni Servillo) to his native Sicily after several years of absence, on the occasion of writer Giovanni Verga’s 80th birthday (it’s 1920), to which the author of The Late Mattia Pascal had been invited to give a speech. From this point onwards, the director and his co-screenwriters Massimo Gaudioso and Ugo Chiti imagine a hitch which forces Pirandello to linger in his native Girgenti (now Agrigento) for a few more days than planned, following the death of his beloved nanny (Aurora Quattrocchi). And it’s actually within this funerary context that the Sicilian author makes the acquaintance of Sebastiano and Onofrio (comic duo Salvo Ficarra and Valentino Picone), the town’s two gravediggers who help the writer ensure a decent burial for the deceased by day, and who try their hand at theater by night, directing an amateur dramatics society composed of various fellow townspeople of dubious talent. Pirandello, who’s in the midst of a creative crisis and in search of inspiration for his next drama, scrutinizes, observes, rewrites, climbs down from his pedestal, and allows himself to be swept away (and entertained) by this ramshackle group of actors. And it’s during the premiere of their farce, and by studying the lively interactions taking place between actors and spectators, that Pirandello gets the idea for his new play, which will transcend all of his previous works and mark a watershed moment between modern and contemporary theater.

The singularity of Andò’s vision is the way in which he strips Pirandello of his (highly deserved) monumentalism, and removes any intellectual density from his creative process, in order to make the latter live and breathe, while continuing to stress the protagonist’s inner restlessness. Strangeness is also “a film about theater which examines the audience, too”, as the director himself explains: on the one hand, there’s the audience who go along with these farcical depictions, entertained, and on the other, there’s the audience who protest when faced with a new way of making theater which they don’t yet possess the tools to understand. Strangeness rises to the most obvious challenge (…) of bringing together a serious actor like Toni Servillo with popular comic duo Ficarra and Picone. A “strangeness” which ultimately hits the mark.”


Roberto Andò was born in Palermo in 1959. After pursuing philosophical studies, he collaborated as an assistant director with Francesco Rosi and Federico Fellini at a young age, later working with Michael Cimino and Francis Ford Coppola. 

From 1980 onwards, he alternated between directing theatrical and cinematic productions. Among his notable works are La Foresta – radice-labirinto, a dramaturgical adaptation from an unpublished text by Italo Calvino, Minetti by Thomas Bernhard in 2016, and In attesa di giudizio in 2017. After several documentary films, Andò made his feature debut film in 2000, with Il manoscritto del Principe, produced by Giuseppe Tornatore. His other cinematic ventures include Sotto falso nome, presented at the Cannes Film Festival in 2004, and Viaggio segreto in 2006. His debut novel, Il trono vuoto, won the Campiello prize for best first work; from the novel he derived the film Viva la libertà, with whom he won the David di Donatello for Best Script and the Nastro d'Argento for Best Screenplay in 2013. Il Bambino nascosto, his seventh feature film, was released in 2021. Throughout the same year, he produced a two-part series on the life of photographer Letizia Battaglia, titled Solo per Passione.


Film Details

Program: Italian Film Festival
Release Year: 2022
Runtime: 104 min
Country/Region: Italy
Language: Italian
Print Source: True Colours
Tags: Dramedy


Director: Roberto Andò
Producer: Angelo Barbagallo, Attilio De Razza
Cinematographer: Maurizio Calvesi
Screenwriter: Roberto Andò, Massimo Gaudioso, Ugo Chiti
Editor: Esmeralda Calabria
Principal Cast: Toni Servillo, Salvatore Ficarra, Valentino Picone