Friends at the Margherita Café
by Pupi Avati
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Bologna, 1954. Taddeo, a young man of 18, dreams of coming one of the regulars of the mythical Margherita Café, found under the portico across from his family’s home. Through a ploy, he manages to become the chauffeur of Al, the neighbourhood’s most glamorous and mysterious resident. Having been taken under Al’s wing, Taddeo gets to witness the adventures of Bep, who is in love with Marcella the entraineuse, the trials and tribulations of Gian, an aspiring singer and the victim of a horrible practical joke, the crazy behaviour of Manuelo, a small-time robber with a phobia for sex, the meanness of Zanchi, inventor of the elastic necktie and the bizarre manias of Sarti, a ballroom dancing champion who wears his tux day and night. And Taddeo’s home life is no less out of the ordinary, seeing that his mother is being led on by the family physician, while his grandfather has fallen head over heels for a well-built piano teacher. In the end, Taddeo, whom everyone calls “Kid”, manages to gain acceptance as a regular at the Margherita Café.