Monday, August 12, 2019

Kaos (1984): The Big Screen Farewell of Franco and Ciccio


A segment of Kaos (1984), an anthology film based on the short stories of Luigi Pirandello, provides a moral message about the self-destructive nature of obstinacy and obsession.  It also provides a "stuck" routine, that classic comedy business in which a person gets stuck to or stuck inside an object.  A powerful landowner Don Lollò (Ciccio Ingrassia) is distressed when a large ceramic jar that stores the olive oil harvested by his farmhands is mysteriously broken.  Don Lollò calls upon a master potter, Dima (Franco Franchi), to repair the jar.  Pirandello wrote:
The man for the job was Uncle Dima Licasi, who had discovered a miraculous cement glue, a secret glue only he knew about, a glue that not even a hammer could break once it had set.
Dima manages while repairing the jar to trap himself inside of it.  Don Lollò refuses to break the jar again to let him out.

New Yorker critic Richard Brody found the story to be a "wild political comedy."  He wrote:
The cavalier grandee is indifferent to the workman’s fate and even, in a scene of comedic splendor, visits a lawyer in the hope of suing him. When the potter seeks escape by conjuring class solidarity among the estate’s laborers, the Tavianis [co-directors Paolo and Vittorio Taviani] render the uprising as an ecstatic musical number in which the lord’s subject women play a heroic role.
The potter is played by Franco Franchi and the landowner is played by Ciccio Ingrassia.  Italians were well-acquainted with Franchi and Ingrassi, who mugged and pratfalled their way together through dozens of feature films between 1960 and 1974.  The slapstick duo, better known to fans as Franco and Ciccio, had been absent from the big screen for eight years, their last film having been a 1974 Papillon spoof called Farfallon 

Kaos was the team's final film.

Here are screen captures from the film.


Reference source

Richard Brody, "A Masterly Movie Adaptation of Short Stories by Luigi Pirandello," The New Yorker (January 5, 2017).

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