Sog., Scen.: Marco Ferreri, Rafael Azcona. F.: Roberto Gerardi. M.: Lionello Massobrio. Scgf.: Massimiliano Capriccioli. Mus.: Teo Usuelli. Int.: Ugo Tognazzi (il professore), Elvira Paoloni (la nonna). Prod.: Carlo Ponti per Compagnia Cinematografica Champion, Les Films Concordia, DCP. Bn.
Ferreri’s cinema often obsessively concentrates on a single isolated element, leading to extreme consequences, and therefore the short film provides a suitable medium for his style. In a period when anthology comedy films were at their peak, indeed almost dominant, Ferreri turned the genre on its head with Il professore, and the result is one of his greatest achievements. In this film, a middle-aged school teacher installs a toilet in his classroom in order to better supervise his female students, causing himself great inner turmoil. The work brings together many elements which are alluded to without ever being overly exploited. The teacher is nostalgic for the fascist regime; the students, who are not particularly beautiful and wear identical uniforms, represent a contradictory element, more linked to social order and history than eroticism. The Italian institution is still permeated by its fascist heritage; however, the protagonist, rather than being an arrogant monster, is himself a victim, a relic forgotten by time. The structure of this short film may appear simple, but is in fact masterful, with long empty scenes dominated by objects: here, Antonioni’s alienation becomes fetishism and the tragic turnes into grotesque, but the smile on the viewer’s lips remains frozen.