Synopsis

Popular American comedians through the years, from Chaplin and the Marx Brothers to Will Ferrell and Tina Fey, have drawn their physical comedy from one central source, the same ancient source that inspired comic opera, marionettes, and ballet.  They all drew upon the rich heritage of the Commedia dell’Arte, a form of masked slapstick comedy that combined farce, romance, and satire with Italian stock characters and was the predominant form of comedy in Europe for more than 300 years.

This documentary explores the life journey of Carlo Mazzone-Clementi (1920-2000), the Italian immigrant who introduced the techniques of commedia dell’Arte to the United States in the mid-50s; a man who partnered with internationally acclaimed artists like Marcel Marceau, Dario Fo, and Jacques Lecoq after World War II to restore the robust tradition of commedia to the world.  It is the story of a brilliant artist from Italy who dedicated himself to bringing this joyful, exuberant art form to America, while constantly struggling with intense personal demons that threatened to de-rail him.

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