The strange case of "No thanks, coffee makes me nervous"

by Claudia Grillo

Every now and then I manage to cross out a title from mine list of movies to see, and this time it was the turn of "No thanks, coffee makes me nervous", a strange one comedy noir shot by Lodovico Gasparini in 1982.

"No thanks, coffee makes me nervous"

The protagonist of the film is Michele Giuffrida, a clumsy morning journalist unsure of his skills at work and in life, played by a very nice Lello Arena. A particular event breaks the mold of his normal daily life: the stage set up for the First New Naples Festival unexpectedly collapses, intriguing the beautiful Lisa, a journalist herself, strong and determined to discover the truth.

While Michele is busy writing death announcements, "one thing like another", as he sees it, an old woman arrives at his address postcard of Naples with a warning to say the least disturbing: "Napule nun adda bitch '" and whoever participates in the Nuova Napoli Festival must die, signed a certain Funiculi Funicula.

The first murder

The mystery deepens: who will this Funiculì Funiculà be and why shouldn't Naples change? Despite the danger, the great is still preparing to participate in the Festival James Senese. During rehearsals, however, the voice of his saxophone is interrupted by a macabre recorded voice, which spreads in the theater and reproaches the musician for having sung "a song that is too wrong": this is Funiculì Funiculà's threatening warning. Words soon give way to facts, and a man dressed in black, with blue shoes and blue gloves from Napoli, takes care of killing Senese.

Troisi plays Troisi

Then it's up to another great Neapolitan culture, the inimitable Massimo Troisi interpreted, and God forbid, by Massimo Troisi himself. He too has to participate in the Festival but, unlike Senese, he is more worried than ever. The voice of the mysterious murderer also surprises him, at night, in his hotel room, telling him not to participate in the event. Troisi then, terrified and gibbering more than usual, tries to get by in every way:

"It's not true, I don't want to bitch Napule", he says trembling to the killer, "I like 'pizza,' or mandulino ... and then cagnate Mantova, Rovigo ... I know 'gghiuto in Rovigo, with my father ten years ago… I was turned around and it was always the same… bitches Rovigo! "

But his desperate attempts are not enough to convince the killer e Troisi is found dead in an alley, with his mouth full of pizza, while the notes of the song Funiculì Funiculà rise joyfully and triumphantly.

The end 

The investigations of Michele and Lisa continue between bizarre characters, like the blind man Ten tenths and the man who keeps phoning a certain Nicola to tell him he wants to kill him, but punctually gets the number wrong and calls Signoriello house. After several adventures, however, the mysterious case of the killer of the New Naples Festival comes Resolved in the most unexpected way.

Don't worry, I don't want to ruin the ending, I stop here hoping to have aroused in you at least a pinch of curiosity. I will just conclude by saying that it is really difficult to have clear ideas after this kaleidoscopic film and, perhaps, precisely for this reason, one cannot fail to be impressed. 

Napule adda bitch '?

In "No thanks, coffee makes me nervous" omnipresent, redundant and paradoxical are the references to Naples and its culture. References that want to tell a city or, better, a certain one idea of a city who wants to remain anchored to his at any cost tradition but, in so doing, it limits itself to building a simple one of itself caricature, like a Pulcinella, he could be nothing but a caricature of himself.

In the end, the loss of Senese and Troisi aside, the situation is resolved for the best, and it is here that perhaps the meaning of the film must be found: to each his time, his commitment and his art, the myths of the past. , however large, they cannot be enough forever.

Claudia Grillo

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