Love, forgiveness, memory and hope. Giorgio Panariello tells Vanity Fair a story of pain and redemption
Love, forgiveness, memory, hope: in the issue of Vanity Fair on newsstands from October 28, the Tuscan comedian Giorgio Panariello recalls a story of pain and redemption, that of his brother Franco found dead in 2011.
“Today, unfortunately, the situation of the virus puts us back to the starting point, in a rewind that has the bitter taste of defeat. Perhaps also for this reason, in this issue of Vanity Fair we have chosen to tell you an exceptional story, that of Giorgio Panariello and his brother Franco ”, writes director Simone Marchetti in his editorial. "In the interview he gave us exclusively, Giorgio Panariello claims that in difficult moments" the difference between falling off the escarpment or stopping on the threshold of the ravine is minimal ". Here, we think that in that slight difference, in that crack that is drawn between hope and defeat, lies the only way to read this so hard period. "
"I wanted to do Franco justice and take on my responsibilities" says the Tuscan comedian about the book published by Mondadori I am my brother in the bookstore from November 3. Pages that tell the life and death of his brother Franco and how, sometimes, to save you from the abyss are only small moments of luck.
Panariello recalls that they found his brother on a winter night "thrown as if it were a used mattress, among the bushes in front of the sea of Viareggio" and swears that on the day of the funeral in Montignoso "all those who Franco had robbed, insulted, disappointed wept and betrayed. People who had never stopped loving him because, with the exception of himself, Franco had never hurt anyone .
It was said that in 2011 Franco had died of an overdose and it was discovered instead, after a painful trial, that the real cause was the abandonment of a man "out of cowardice". Three people he'd gotten sick with while he was with them at dinner had dumped him from a car and his heart had stopped beating from hypothermia.
"Fortune made the difference between me and Franco," says Giorgio. «I only had more ass than him, but Franco could have been me. Neither of us had ever known who our father was and my mother, who had brought us into the world too quickly, had not been able to fulfill her function. I, born a year before him, was entrusted to my grandparents. He soon ended up in boarding school without encountering affection and attention. In life, Franco especially lacked love ".
Regarding the fact that Franco could have been him, he says: «I came close, really close because in trying to be next to him I was transforming myself into Franco. Reality weighed on me. I was fine with just the wine and the barrel in my mouth. Things were going very badly. One evening they put heroin in front of me. I should have sniffed it and I certainly would have done it, perhaps out of an idiotic challenge or perhaps to show him that between becoming dependent and not being addicted, the difference was only in willpower. At a certain point I saw a lighter appear, then a spoon, finally a crystal and I understood what I was going to meet. I ran out of that house and probably saved my life. "
With great honesty he admits that his brother was also a burden for him "He had the feeling of having a bulky brother and the same feeling was embracing me too, but it is clear that a brother in those conditions was also a burden: to do my trade you must have a free head . He then adds: "When I did not see Franco, the anxiety decreased, but then the feelings of guilt took over".
And when the deputy director of Vanity Fair Malcom Pagani asks him if he wrote this book to atone for them, he replies: "There is nothing that fools you like the sense of guilt: I made many mistakes towards Franco, also and above all for the sense of guilt. Anyone who has a person who uses drugs in their home has an everlasting sense of guilt. I felt guilty when I foraged for his vices, when I denied him the money and also when the gossips whispered: "But how, with a brother like this he thinks to make you laugh?".
Now Franco is no longer there. “And I can't believe it. After leaving San Patrignano, he fell back. We then went to Don Mazzi's community and, after three years there, Franco came out totally clean. He had had the last chance of his life and he had taken it. I don't know if he was really happy, but he was fine. He wanted to live and he understood how wonderful it was to fly with your feet on the ground. He had moved to Pietrasanta, had found a stable job and came to see me on Christmas Eve. We spent a beautiful evening, remembering the follies we had done together and then we hugged. He adjusted his scarf, gave a last laugh of his own, with a hoarse voice he greeted me and I watched him disappear with his gait always in danger, adjusting his tuft. It was the last time I saw him ".
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