Veteran movie maker Taviani dies, 88

Veteran movie maker Taviani dies, 88

Italian movie maker and Cannes Film Festival winner Vittorio Taviani (pictured) has died aged 88.
He and his brother Paolo worked as a directorial duo and made politically engaged films together for more than 50 years.
Their best-known movie was the tough biopic Padre Padrone, set in Sardinia, which won the prestigious Palme d’Or at Cannes in 1977.
The film follows a Sardinian shepherd who seeks to escape his domineering father by educating himself. The brothers came across the story in a newspaper and then in a book. “It seemed right away to us a beautiful story, a story to make,” Taviani said. “We felt united with this story.”
Born in San Miniato in Tuscany in 1929, Taviani died in Rome after a long-term illness.
“It’s a sad day for culture, we have lost one of the greatest masters of our cinema,” said Italian culture minister Dario Franceschini.
In their early 80s the brothers also made the critically acclaimed Caesar Must Die in 2012, for which they won the Golden Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival.
The documentary showed inmates of a high-security prison staging the Shakespearean history play. Taviana said they wanted to remind audiences that “even an inmate, on whose head is a terrible punishment, is, and remains, a man”.
Their father was an anti-fascist lawyer and they had an early interest in social issues as they mixed history, psychological analysis and lyricism in their films.
Their family was credited with cultivating the brothers’ sense of social justice and love of culture.
“Cinema is my life, because without it I would be only a ghost and the relationships I have with other people would dissolve in the mist,” Taviani reportedly said.
The Italian president, Sergio Mattarella, said Taviani’s death was “a great loss for Italian cinema and culture, which are losing an undeniable and beloved protagonist”.
The brothers alternated directing scenes in their half-century career. Their last film, Una Questione Privata, made last year, was credited to both but directed by Paolo alone because of Vittorio’s poor health, according to the Corriere della Sera newspaper.
Asked once if they ever fought, Vittorio said: “Of course. But not on set. When we play tennis.”
He is survived by his brother Paolo, 86, and a son, Giuliano Taviani, who is a composer who collaborated on Caesar Must Die.

Vittorio Taviani. Picture credit: YouTube

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