The film that made Francesco Nuti a great of Italian comedy cinema
A small gem made all the more precious by touches of melancholy and moments of tension, anger and tenderness
A must-see for lovers of the game of pool
This film stands out in the panorama of 1980s Italian cinema for a variety of reasons. The quality of the sets, the rejection of simple cabaret-style caricatures in favour of convincingly constructed ones, and the simple yet refined way in which it constructs a very human and sentimental story. It is a slightly melancholic comedy with some fantastic moments of tension (including masterfully filmed pool matches), as well as delicate homages to Truffaut. Francesco Nuti gives a fantastic performance in depicting the anger and tenderness of his character, with a balance that the actor (and subsequently director) rarely equalled. It is an object of underplayed splendour, in a decade characterised by useless gaudiness. And of course, the film is an essential piece of cinema for lovers of the game of pool. It shows the skills of Marcello Lotti, a real champion.
Francesco, a doorman, is also a talented pool player. He gets into trouble when he loses a large sum of money challenging the champion, known as the “Dark One”. In order to pay off his debts, he steals from the safe-deposit box where he works. Luckily for him, he meets saxophone player Chiara, who helps him out of the mess he is in with a well-planned strategy. But he can’t avoid one last match against the “Dark One”.