Italian Drama ‘The King of Laughter’ Due on Digital and DVD Feb. 14

The Italian drama The King of Laughter will be released on digital and DVD Feb. 14 from Film Movement.

The film is set at the beginning of the 20th century in Belle Époque Naples, where theaters and the cinema were thriving and the great comic actor Eduardo Scarpetta was the box office king. Known in the Neapolitan theater for his cheeky alter egos, Scarpetta’s larger-than-life stage productions were matched only by his eccentric personal life. Composed of wives, partners, lovers, legitimate and illegitimate children (including a young Eduardo De Filippo, famed Neapolitan playwright), Scarpetta’s home situation resembled one of his comedies more than a traditional family. In 1904, at the height of his popularity, the comedian risked everything by staging a parody of the great Italian poet, Gabriele D’Annunzio. Booed and hissed from the stage by younger rivals, Scarpetta was sued for plagiarism, leading to the first ever copyright lawsuit in Italy. Despite the draining years of legal troubles and familial strife, Scarpetta fought not only for his craft but for his legacy as one of the great thespians of Italian theater.

The film was nominated for 26 international awards, including the 2021 Venice Golden Lion for Best Film, and captured 14, including the Best Actor Award for Toni Servillo at Venice and Best Costume Design at Italy’s 2022 David di Donatello Awards, as well as Best Costume Design, Best Cinematography and Best Film at the 2021 Golden Ciak Awards.

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Bonuses include the short film La Smorfia directed by Emanuele Palamara. It follows Carmine, a popular Neapolitan singer, who is left disfigured and confined to a wheelchair after a tragic accident. He longs to return to the stage, but when his doting sister stands in the way he devises a treacherous plan.


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