An over-the-hill comic, scrambling for bookings on the provincial club circuit, Franco (Boldi) cuts a sad figure. His only prospect is the release of a low-budget film by a first-time director - a hateful experience for a star of Franco's former stature. Then, a miracle! The film's invited to the Venice festival, in competition. The critics start buzzing, and suddenly Franco is tipped for the Golden Lion. Avati's melancholy answer to The King of Comedy is sour and unfunny. Chiefly shot at the Venice fest in 1995, and screened there in '96, the film holds up a mirror to the vanity of the event, but echoes with empty laughter.