Quo Vado?


Rome's Beppe Severgnini analyzes the success of a comedy that has been crushing Star Wars at the Italian box office.

This article,written by , appears on The New York Times.

The Secret Behind Italy’s Favorite New Film

A balding government clerk in his late 30s has one true love: “il posto fisso,” a job for life. He doesn’t want to compete in the labor market; he has no urge to move on. He doesn’t even want to earn more. Give him a desk, a chair and a 9-to-5 job in the “pubblica amministrazione,” and he’s happy. Clocking in late, chatting with colleagues, accepting small bribes from taxpayers (most favored: quail), a regular salary — that’s life!

And, of course, there are rubber stamps. The clerk loves them. Slam! Slam! Slam! When his boss, who wants to get rid of him, asks angrily: “What have you contributed to this department?” he shows her his stamping prowess, and almost demolishes her glass table.

This is, more or less, the story of “Quo Vado?” a new comedy that has smashed Italian box office records.

It had its premiere on Jan. 1, and in its first week made $39 million; “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” in three weeks, reached just $23 million. 

According to The Hollywood Reporter, “Quo Vado?” — or “Where Am I Going?” a modern spin on the Latin question “Quo vadis?” (“Where are you going?”) — is on course to beat the box-office record for an Italian film in the country, currently at $56 million, set by 2013’s “Sole a catinelle.” (Italy’s top-grossing film, “Avatar,” made $71.5 million here.) Read more on The New York Times.

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