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Sanremo 2023, Roberto Benigni: «Before the Constitution, there could not have been a Festival»

was missing from San Remo Festival since 2020, when he recited Il Cantico dei Cantici and quoted Oscar Wilde, and that will be why we were all waiting for Roberto Benigni with curiosity and euphoria, exactly like when, after winning the Oscar in 1997, he had the power to raise everyone’s ratings the television programs in which he appeared as a guest. Today, on the occasion of the first evening of the Festival, Benigni returns, and he does so in the name of his dear and old workhorse: the Constitution, which will be 75 years old in 2023. «What does the Constitution have to do with Sanremo, you will ask? In reality, it has a lot to do with it, because the Constitution is linked to art: yes, the Constitution is a work of art that sings»explains Benigni from the stage of the Ariston addressing both the audience of the theater and at home and both at President of the Republic Sergio Mattarella, who observes him from the stage enraptured by his words. After joking about his second term – “Amadeus is in his fourth term, he wants to reach Quota Cento, tomorrow he will want to organize the march on Sanremo” – the monologue comes to life thanks to the Constitution.

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«The Constitution is a hymn to the freedom and dignity of man: every word releases an evocative and revolutionary force exactly like works of art. The Constitution is a slap to power, it shows us a different reality, it tells us that we can live in a country that is just and beautiful, in a world without violence, in a world where art makes us dream». Roberto Benigni says, articulating the words, hypnotizing the audience as if in that moment his words were guiding the soul and heart of the story. «The Constitution is a dream fabricated by awake men. If there is a Sanremo song to be compared to the Constitution, that is the incipit of Fly: I think a dream like this will never come back. In fact, the founding fathers and mothers did not think of it: they dreamed it. They wrote it in a very short time: it was a flash of lightning, a vision, a miracle», says the Oscar winner before taking a dig at today’s politicians.

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“They were 556, all from different parties. Divided on everything except one thing: being united to write the most beautiful constitution imaginable. For the first time in the history of law, we did not address the society of the present, but the future. We too must have the audacity to look into the future with joy. If they had adopted it in other countries, war would no longer exist on the face of the earth: we Italians have written it». After joking with Mattarella, calling the Constitution his sister because of his father, Roberto Benigni approaches the conclusion of the monologue by quoting his favorite article: Article 21, «written in such simple language that it seems written by a child». «The article says: everyone has the right to freely express their thoughts. It is the simplest and the strongest: before the Constitution one could not think freely, and Sanremo could not be created. There was only one song, always the same: the party, the power. Article 21 freed us from the obligation to be afraid. Before the Constitution we had it». The last page of the Constitution is blank, notes Roberto Benigni.

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“Our founding fathers and mothers said that now it’s our turn: we’re alive now, it’s our time. The constituents could not write that page because they knew that we had to write it with our lives, by living it. The Constitution was written but it must be implemented. It’s not just to read, but you have to live it, love it, feel it as your own, enforce it every day. You will tell me: is it an ideal, a chimera, an illusion, a dream? Our fathers showed us the way, and they left us only one thing: to make our dream come true». Applause, standing ovations, chills at the theater and at home and a reassurance to Mattarella but also to all of us: «The evening will be long, but you may not see it all. He can always leave it unfinished.’

Source: Vanity Fair

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