Keywords: Italian Contemporary Cinema; Popular Taste; Commercial Television; Political Discourse; Legitimate Culture.
Analyzing some of the varying responses of critics and audiences to the film "Sole a Catinelle" (2013) and "Quo Vado?" (2015), this paper aims to examine the circulation of a political discourse about the role of Checco Zalone in contemporary Italian cinema and culture. Historically, in the case of lowbrow comedy and popular film - especially for the so called «cinepanettone» - the taste of the Italian audience have been always pathologized, reflecting some specific ideological discourse (i.e. berlusconism). This is not the case for Checco Zalone and his box-office records. The ways in which Italian film critics and media opinon leaders have understood and engaged with his films can be related to the evolution of the complex relationship between Italian left-wing intellectuals, popular taste and television culture.