The True Legend of Tony Vilar

Director: Giuseppe Gagliardi


Shown at the Rome and Tribeca film festivals, director Giuseppe Gagliardi’s first feature is an amusing yet thoughtful ‘mocumentary’ about legendary singer Tony Vilar.
Antonio Ragusa left Calabria in southern Italy for Argentina in 1952 at the age of 14. A chance performance in a local bar in Buenos Aires led to a meteoric rise to fame and an undisputed status as South America’s leading crooner. Ragusa adopted the stage name Tony Vilar and gained worldwide fame with the song ‘Cuando calienta el sol’ before mysteriously vanishing from the public eye.
Gagliardi’s film stars Peppe Voltarelli, front-man of the cult Italian band Il Parto delle Nuvole Pesanti, who composed the film’s original music and co-wrote the script with Gagliardi. Peppe’s character in the film has been brought up on stories of his mythical distant cousin and sets out to trace Vilar and discover the reason for his disappearance. His journey takes him to Italian communities from Buenos Aires to New York, as he gradually closes in on Vilar and the secret that abruptly changed his life. The fate of the emigrant Italian community in Germany was the subject of Gagliardi and Voltarelli’s 2003 documentary Doichlanda. In the new film they blend the true story of Vilar with Peppe’s fictional investigation to explore the Italian communities of the New World, who maintain the values and images of the Old Country handed down by their parents and grandparents. Gagliardi includes elements of the road-movie, musical and documentary genres to create a humorous and thought-provoking exploration of Italian identity and the nature of success.
Director Giuseppe Gagliardi and Actor Peppe Voltarelli will introduce this film and participate in a post-screening discussion.

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