man in a disco talking and holding cigarette

One Man Up
(L’uomo in più)

Screening on Film
Directed by Paolo Sorrentino.
With Toni Servillo, Andrea Renzi, Antonino Bruschetta.
Italy, 2001, 35mm, color, 100 min.
Italian with English subtitles.
Print source: Indigo Film

Sorrentino’s debut feature is a dark study of celebrity and capricious fortune that follows the simultaneous rise and disastrous fall of two Neapolitan men marked with the same name and, despite their different walks of life, seemingly the same destiny. Elevated to a sudden fame they cannot understand, a nightclub crooner and instant soccer star float giddily upon fleeting celebrity only to crash, with grave consequence, against hidden reefs. Loosely inspired by two popular Italian figures whose careers each suffered dramatic career reversals—pop singer Franco Califano and celebrated soccer player Agostino Di Bartolomei—One Man Up is an impressive showcase of Sorrentino’s skills as a writer and director. The deliberately schematic story is given a human depth buoyed by the stunning performances of longtime Sorrentino collaborators Toni Servillo and Andrea Renzi, who starred together in the influential Death of a Neapolitan Mathematician (1992) by Mario Martone, whose success helped elevate the deeply rooted regional cinema out of which Sorrentino emerged.

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