Paolo Conte, Away With Me

After showcasing in Venice, Giorgio Verdelli’s documentary about musician Paolo Conte debuts in Italy

There’s always been a sort of ancestral split in music between pop and niche artists and let’s say that Paolo Conte embodies both: he’s an incredibly talented jazz player and maybe the most famous Italian crooner in the world, but there’s something in his voice, in the way he plays that represents people’s essence.

It is no accident if, apart from his jazz tunes like Ratafià, Bartali and Boogie, Conte has also written some of the most popular songs in Italy such as Azzurro, La Coppia più Bella del Mondo and Onda su Onda, which became popular thanks to other performers like Adriano Celentano and Bruno Lauzi.

Italian director Giorgio Verdelli pays tribute to Conte with the documentary film Paolo Conte, Away With Me (Via Con Me), named after his most famous song. After showcasing at the 77th Venice Film Festival, the film hits Italian theaters only for three days, from Monday, September 28, to Wednesday, September 30, 2020. 

Paolo Conte, Away With Me is built as a jazz tune, with written and “improvised parts”: the musician, born in 1937, recalls his youth in Asti, the relationship with his family, his first career as a lawyer (“A job that I’ve always loved”, he says) that for a long time he pursued in parallel to music. Only after playing abroad, Conte became successful in Italy and then decided to dedicate the rest of his life to his real calling.

Alongside Conte’s interview, Verdelli collects testimonies from many of his friends and colleagues like Roberto Benigni, Isabella Rossellini, Jane Birkin, Jovanotti and others. Part of story is narrated by actors and real-life couple, Luca Zingaretti and Luisa Ranieri, that add a theatrical vibe (maybe unnecessary) to the film. 

However, there’s something missing in the film: it feels like Verdelli could add something more between interviews and archive material or choose different solution in terms of film editing. The silver lining is that Away With Me delivers a simple and honest portrait of Paolo Conte, where the man and the musician go together. 

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