Bosetti, Roméo

(1879-1948)
   Actor, director, and screenwriter. The precise trajectory of Roméo Bosetti's career is not entirely clear, largely because he was ignored by the first several generations of film scholars and has only recently become a subject of interest. It is clear he was an entertainer from the age of ten, first in the circus, then in theaters and dance halls of Paris. P. T. Barnum seems to have hired him into his very well-known circus in 1905, and in 1906, he may have gone to work at Pathé, along with a number of other well-known Parisian entertainers.
   If indeed Bosetti was at Pathé at this time, he did not remain there for very long, for it seems he went that same year to Gaumont, where he worked as a director first under Alice Guy then under Louis Feuillade. In fact, he is wrongly credited with having directed several of Guy's films. At first, Bosetti specialized in the chase film, but it was at Gaumont that he developed his talent for burlesque or farce, directing and also acting in a number of films in which the characters were either unwitting victims of ridiculous circumstances, or were possessed of ridiculous characteristics that created such circumstances.
   The most successful of Bosetti's burlesques were those that featured the eponymous character Roméo, who appeared in films such as Roméo pris au piège (1906), Roméo et le cheval de fiacre (1907), and Roméo a mangé du lion (1907). The comic figure Calino (played by Clément Migé), who was featured in films such as Calino au théâtre (1909), Calino se bat en duel (1910), and Calino a mangé du cheval (1910), was also one of Bosetti's creations. Both Calino and Roméo were, in great measure, inspired by the outlandish, grotesque, and wildly popular character Boireau, developed by André Deed for Pathé.
   In addition to these two series, Bosetti also wrote and directed two classics of early film comedy while at Gaumont: Le Tic (1907), which features a beautiful young woman who has a tic that makes her wink at men as she passes by, and Une dame vraiment bien (1908), which features another beautiful woman who attracts a good deal of attention as she walks down the street.
   Bosetti left Gaumont in 1910, when Pathé lured him away by giving him the directorship of a special comic division in Nice, the Pathé Comica. At Pathé, he developed two other well-known comedic characters, Rosalie, played by Sarah Duhamel, and Bigorneau, played by René Lantini. The films featuring Rosalie ran in 1912 and featured titles such as Rosalie veut engraisser (1912) and C'est la faute à Rosalie (1912). The films featuring Bigorneau also began in 1912 and featured titles such as Bigorneau fait son café (1912) and Bigorneau surveille Madame (1912). This series ran until 1915. His later series include the Casmir series, which ran from 1913 until 1916, and the Gavroche series, which ran from 1912 until 1914. His career was briefly interrupted by service in World War I, but he quickly returned to filmmaking after being discharged due to injury. Bosetti made more than one hundred films between 1912 and 1916 alone.
   Bossetti seems also to have been allowed to develop his own production unit, Nizza, which remained attached to Pathé but which operated semi-independently. His films are seen to have been important in the early development of the comedy, focusing it in a working-class milieu (one might note the influence of Feuillade, perhaps, in this regard), and moving the genre toward narrative and away from pure gags.
   Historical Dictionary of French Cinema by Dayna Oscherwitz & Mary Ellen Higgins

Guide to cinema. . 2011.

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