-Essay-

ROME — It's funny, if you think about it. Nothing's made me laugh recently quite as much as the uproar against director Enrico Vanzina's new comedy about the lockdown. The film production company announced that on October 15, it will release Vanzina's new movie: Lockdown all'italiana, a frivolous, self-commiserating laugh about Italians and the coronavirus.

Social media users weren't happy. Aren't you ashamed? one asked. Another wagged their virtual finger, posting photos of struggling health professionals and of army trucks taking coffins away from the city of Bergamo back in April when the crematoriums were overwhelmed. You don't laugh at a tragedy of 35,000 deaths, online critics have been writing with a profusion of exclamation marks.

No tragedy, no comedy.

And to me, sorry for my impropriety, it makes me laugh. It makes me laugh just like Charlie Chaplin did when he wore a certain little moustache in The Great Dictator. It makes me laugh the way Mel Brooks does in his scenes about Jews, and like Mario Monicelli's The Great War. It makes me laugh like Sturmtruppen, the Italian comic book that detailed the misadventures of a caricatured version of the Nazi troops; like Robert Altman's M*A*S*H, about the carnage in Korea; or like Fantozzi, the Italian comedy cult character, who deserts the Japanese army only to find refuge in a sleepy countryside town — Hiroshima.

Lockdown all'italiana, is a frivolous, self-commiserating laugh about Italians and the coronavirus — Photo: Playhitmusic/Twitter

Ah but no, you just don't laugh at tragedies! When did we ever laugh at tragedies? Well, I don't know: I just laugh. I laugh with that one-eyed general who was looking at the battle from the top of a hill and a mortar splinter hit him in his good eye, and the general greeted the attendants: gentlemen, goodnight!

But no, damn it, you just don't laugh at tragedies ... not even about your own tragedies! This itself is one of the most tragic affirmations in human history and, sorry, when I hear it, I can't help but laugh again.

If you have no tragedy, you have no comedy, said someone who was obviously a madman — he was convinced that the true tragedy is those who cannot laugh at tragedies. They are, of course, already a comedy in the making.


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