Why Cecco Beppe Does Not Die (A Futurist Reenactment)

Props to SFMOMA for tweeting this clip recently. Of course as we all know the internet is made of cats, so what better way than a black & white feline to sucker people into being strangely entertained by artists from the early 20th Century.

For a fine glaze of irony, the historical art movement in question is named Futurism, and one of its fundamental tenets is utter disdain for everything in the past, especially the art of the past. They would be so pissed at you for watching this!

Why Cecco Beppe Does Not Die (Scratch ‘n’ Sniff Edition) recreates a lost section of the only official Futurist film, from 1916. From the notes to this video…

Original Synopsis (1916): “Death (Chiti) comes for Cecco Beppe wearing black clothing with a white skeleton painted on top of it, so that, against the black background, he appears to be a floating mass of bones. But Beppe has a very bad odor–Death cannot stand it and collapses, allowing his victim to live on.”

This section was never actually shown with the rest […] because it was censored by the Italian Ministry of the Interior.

The original film, Vita Futurista (“Futurist Life”), was lost long ago. But a partial recreation of it / documentary is available from The Roland Collection of films on art.

New York City arts organization Performa dedicated much of their Performa 09 event last year to Futurism’s centennial, and collaborated with SFMOMA and Portland Green Cultural Projects to commission this and ten other Futurist film recreations.

We have BrooklynFeralCat to thank for the above clip in particular. There are a few non-Futurist flicks by BFC as well.


Actor, nerd, poet, producer, writer mikl-em made his name short so you wouldn't have to. In addition to his blog you can find his writing in "Hi Fructose" magazine and witness him almost life-sized in various plays at The Dark Room Theater in SF's Mission district.

He tends to write about theater, humor, San Francisco culture and history, and stuff that's just plain weird. He thanks Scott for sharing the keys to the Laughing Squid virtual HQ and promises to uphold whatever it is that the mirthful cephalopod would prefer to be uplifted.