Last night, all of Italy was treated to special gift, the TV debut of new film Il Pirata-Marco Pantani. Italian broadcaster Rai Uno aired the film by Producer Bibi Ballandi and Director Claudio Bonivento, which was greeted with praise by those who knew Pantani best.
Giuseppe Martinelli, Director Sportif of Pantani for 11 years, watched the film with his Lampre-Fondital team at its training camp. "I saw the film with [Damiano] Cunego and the other boys on my team, and the atmosphere was surreal," he said to La Gazzetta dello Sport. "The interpretation was very realistic and done exactly. But I would have liked to have more scenes when he was a baby boy with dark curly hair." The film opened with images of Pantani when he received his first bike from his Grandpa, and started to appreciate the joys of two wheels.
"On the other hand this was a sad story that left me a bitter taste in my mouth. I hope that those who loved Pantani also liked the film."
Discovering Pantani in those days when he was riding around on his newly gifted bike was Giuseppe Roncucci. The Romagnolo started working with Marco at 11 years-old, convincing him to join his racing club.
"It was short. [The film] starts and ends. For us it was a lifetime, that seems like it has not yet ended," remarked 71 year-old Pino, who was portrayed by Italian Omero Antonutti in the film. "Antonutti is a great actor. We had talked a long time. He asked me for advice and I said 'I don't know, you are the artist.'"
The parents of Pantani, Tonina and Paolo, had already seen the film during its initial screening but last night was a time for them to reflect on their son’s life. "The other day when we watched the film for the first time, together with the director Claudio Bonivento and actor Rolando Ravello, we were very emotional; we were hit and overwhelmed; it was hard," said Pantani's mom.
"There were a lot of similarities," said Paolo, who did object to some scenes. "Marco as a baby, Marco in the gruppo and no one could drop him, Marco who raced and at every chance attacked. He had a special relationship with his grandpa Sotero. He searched for my partnership because he feared his mom would be upset with him. I was his dad, but also his friend."
Tonina and Paolo keep Marco's memory alive with a special school, Pantani Corse. It is a team based in Forlì that consists of 40 children. "Marco had entered into a tunnel but out of that are [these] 40 children of Pantani Corse. ... Tonina and I, every Saturday and Sunday, go to see them race."
According to La Gazzetta dello Sport the film was watched by 5,571,000 spectators, or approximately 20.97% audience shares.