Monday, July 8, 2013
Café Express, with Nino Manfredi (with Basco Roma)
In Café Express Michele Abbagnano (Nino Manfredi) ekes out a living by abusively selling coffee, hot milk and cappuccino on the night trains running between Naples and Vallo della Lucania; each night, his goods held in a set of vacuum flasks which he carries in a basket along with handfuls of sugar packets he steals from railway cafés, he moves from carriage to carriage peddling warm drinks to the dazed, sleepy passengers.
The need to maintain his young son (who suffers from a congenital heart deficiency) in an institution and the hope to amass a large enough sum to have him undergo surgery to make him healthy for good is more than enough to keep Michele in his awkward and exhausting line of business, to which, however, he's exceptionally suited.
Keen of eye and wit he manages to befriend most of the passengers on the night trains, helping them with small favours (like waking them up before the stations they need to descend at) and telling tall tales centered around his right arm, which he keeps wrapped in a long leather glove pretending it to be wooden.
Michele tailors the stories to the people he's telling them to... pretending of having been a successful pianist who had his career ruined to a young cross-eyed man pining about having been rejected from the Carabinieri, telling how he saved orphanage boys from a roaring fire to the nun leading some schoolboys, narrating how he lost the limb to freezing on the Eastern Front to the WW2 veteran and so on.
During one night of 'work' Michele will be chased across the train by a trio of conductors who have been ordered by the Ministry of Transports to put an end to his activities once and for all; he'll meet his son (who has escaped from the institution) and will cross paths with a trio of petty thieves decided to enrol him as an accomplice in their misdeeds.