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Shots fired at Benigni show in Italy; guard wounded

Shots fired at Benigni show in Italy; guard wounded

Roberto Benigni was reciting a page from Dante's poem on love and the afterlife when he thought hell had come to Earth.
Shots rang out Tuesday night as the Oscar-winning actor and director was performing in a piazza in the southern Italian city of Cosenza, police said. Upon hearing the gunfire, Benigni said: "What, is hell here, too?" _ then resumed his performance, the news agency ANSA said.
Police said a security guard had stopped a man who was trying to get into the show without a ticket. The man pulled out a gun and fired six shots, five of which hit the security guard in the legs, local police spokesman Angelo Cosentino told The Associated Press by telephone Wednesday.
The guard was hospitalized but the injuries were not life-threatening, police said. A 45-year-old man with a police record for minor crimes was arrested for attempted murder.
Benigni said Wednesday he regretted the incident but at the same time thought it was poetic.
"The poetic greatness is that he did that just to hear Dante," ANSA quoted the actor as saying. "I'm sorry, and I feel for the kid's family, but he did it for poetry, and that's a great thing."
Benigni is touring Italy with a show called "Tutto Dante (All Dante)" in which he mixes political satire with readings from "The Divine Comedy" _ the allegoric voyage through hell, purgatory and paradise written in the early 14th century by Tuscan poet Dante Alighieri.
Benigni said he thought it was remarkable that, at the time of the shooting, he was reciting a section of the poem on love.
"It's incredible what life can put together," he continued. "To hear shots on stage was absurd. ... But to hear shots while you're reciting about love ... is truly something incredible, paradoxical."
The shooting took place on the margins of the show in a Cosenza piazza. Most in the audience didn't realize a gun had been fired but thought firecrackers had gone off, police said.
Benigni's next stop on the tour is Thursday in Caserta, near Naples.
A Tuscany-born comic, Benigni is best known for directing "Life Is Beautiful," which won the best foreign film Oscar in 1999 and earned him the award for best actor.


Updated : 2021-07-29 02:27 GMT+08:00