SUMMARY: In the hope of winning the heart of a beautiful young activist, Mr. Rossi sets about tackling pollution in Venice.
WHY IT’S HERE: The final instalment of the classic original Mr. Rossi series (before he was given a voice and a talking dog sidekick for the more child-friendly feature films), ‘Mr. Rossi in Venice’ is a great ending which retains the satirical bite and dark jokes of the later Rossis and adds a splash of surrealism, with a climax that sees Rossi symbolically transformed into a frog. The most socially conscious of the Rossi shorts, ‘Mr. Rossi in Venice’ was made to address Bozzetto’s disgust at the growing pollution problem in Venice and sees Rossi driven into yet another murderous rage by those abusing the environment, albeit this time with the ulterior motive of impressing a woman. Bozzetto would continue to do interesting things with the Mr. Rossi character, with the feature films being a happy memory from my childhood, but as an adult it is these initial seven shorts when Rossi was a silent character that really showcase his enormous potential as a cartoon superstar.