Many Valentino Rossi fans will probably look at you with a puzzled expression if you told them that an animated movie was created about Valentino Rossi and his fictional adventures by a well known Italian writer and illustrator who is most famous for his erotic books and comics. But it happened.
‘Quarantasei‘ (which is basically Italian for ‘Forty Six’) started out as a comic by Milo Manara (the Italian artist, writer, illustrator,) and was eventually made into a short animated film.
But if you are a longtime Valentino Rossi fan and MotoGP fan then the chances are you have already seen some of Manara’s work on one of Valentino Rossi’s famous helmet designs. In 2006 Milo Manara designed Valentino’s Mugello helmet, creating a beautiful design full of his trademark eroticism, combined with additional images portraying Valentino, Steve McQueen, and other icons. It was a real work of art and one of Valentino’s most distinctive and beautiful race helmets. You can read more about it here, and you can see an image of the helmet below:
In conjunction with the helmet, Milo Manara created a comic book about the fictional adventures of Vale.
Valentino Rossi said: “My new helmet design is by a famous Italian cartoonist called Milo Manara. He has drawn a kind of mythical story of my life, with some of my heroes like Steve McQueen, Enzo Ferrari and Jim Morrison, with other characters like my dog Guido, Osvaldo the chicken and lots of beautiful women! I really like it and Milo is somebody I have admired for a long time.”
The animated film of ‘Quarantasei‘ was released in 2007 and it is really an adaptation of the comic book. It runs for 35 minutes and is made up of the artwork from the book that is supplemented with voice actors, sounds from the racetrack, and moving images and special video effects. It is probably inaccurate to call this a fully animated movie….it’s better to think of it as moving collage of original artwork. The voice acting is great though, and the soundtrack feels authentic as many of the racing scenes are set to a soundtrack which uses actual recorded sounds from the 2006 MotoGP at the Mugello circuit.
The actual plot contains elements of Vale’s life, for example, Valentino Rossi is a famous MotoGP racer who is always accompanied by his faithful dog Guido, but it soon quickly merges into a surreal parallel universe. One day a strange girl snatches his lucky charm from a chain on his neck before he is due to go out on track. The same girl shows up as his umbrella girl on the grid and then things get really weird. Valentino dreams about visiting a fantasy world populated by angelic creatures where he meets Jim Morrison, he has his brakes on his Yamaha tampered with, he meets Steve McQueen in the desert, and Enzo Ferrari talks to him via a picture, and so on…..
There is also a shady cabal who want to sabotage Valentino’s success, and it all culminates in a race where Rossi has to overcome the numerous odds that have been stacked against him…..does he manage to win? Well I guess you will just have to watch it (see below).
Imagine Alejandro Jodorowsky (who Manara has also worked with) writing a story about a MotoGP season and you will be halfway there in imagining what to expect from ‘Quarantasei‘, it’s crazy, mystical stuff, but enjoyable all the same.
The voice actors who gave their time to bring the story of ‘Quarantasei‘ to life is actually pretty good and is notable for Valentino Rossi actually being involved and playing himself.
The rest of the cast include Luciana Littizzetto (as the bike….yeah the bike talks in this as well), Dario Vergassola (as Osvaldo the chicken), Guido Meda (as the sports reporter), Marco Alemanno (as Jim Morrison), David Rion (as Steve McQueen), Luca Cordero di Montezemolo (as Enzo Ferrari) and Lucio Dalla in the role of Guido.
Milo Manara also has a speaking role in the animation also.
The DVD was released with extras that included a behind the scenes look at the making of the film, including footage of Valentino Rossi and Milo Manara backstage, and various interviews. The is also a collector’s edition that was released that included extra bits and pieces like a 48 page colour booklet.
You can still buy the film on DVD if you look hard enough (we have provided some links at the bottom the page). It comes with subtitles, but if your Italian is good enough you can also watch it below (without subtites):
Where to buy it:
|Get the DVD of Quarantasei at Amazon or|
|Check out the Milo Manara Quarantasei comic books at Amazon or|