Life as a B-Movie: Piero Vivarelli

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Life as a B-Movie: Piero Vivarelli

Directed by Fabrizio Laurenti, Niccolò Vivarelli

  • Italy 2019; 83 min
  • Original version: Italian, French, Spanish
  • Genre: Documentary, Biographic

  • Archival research: Ilaria Giaccio & Fiorentina Sensini


This portrait of a revolutionary provoker links the restless life and kaleidoscopic filmography of Piero Vivarell, director of Italian B-movies of all kinds, lyricist of successful songs such as Celentano’s 24.000 baci, and screenwriter of the spaghetti-western Django, which was so popular with Quentin Tarantino. Apart from Che Guevara, he was the only foreigner to have a membership card of the Cuban Communist Party signed by Fidel Castro. Going from Urlatori alla sbarra (Howlers of the Dock), a musical film with Celentano, Chet Baker and Mina about the world of the younger generation that was beginning to move to the rhythm of rock, to films about current political topics like Oggi a Berlino (East Zone, West Zone), and Django that anticipated a spaghetti-western style that was destined to become very popular, Vivarelli rode the wave of the moment. He adapted cartoons such as Satanik and Mister X (Avenger X) and portrayed the sexual revolution with Il dio serpente (The Snake God). With its creative narration the documentary looks closely at a neglected area of Italian and international pop culture whilst at the same time studying a life that is itself a genre film a film ‘à la Vivarelli’: exaggerated, ironic, sensual, full of life, music and action.

Director's Statement

Describing Piero Vivarelli’s life and looking back on his cinema, we would like to pay homage to an Italian cinema that we loved and with which we grew up. It is a cinema that is not considered auteur cinema and has never won a Palm or a Lion, but one that has shaped an entire generation’s imagination. This generation supported Django and Che Guevara, mixing them a bit, imagining they were in worlds, some more exotic than others, where they could free themselves once and for all of the so-called ‘civil’ society’s taboos. This was a generation that saw each of his films as a small stimulus to continue, encouragement towards a revolutionary destination (utopia?): no matter whether big or small, but in ourselves.








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