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Italian director Paolo Taviani has died at the age of 92

For decades, the inseparable Taviani brothers jointly signed landmark films in Italian cinema, including the masterpiece “Padre padrone”, Palme d'Or at Cannes in 1977: Vittorio died in 2018 at the age of 88 and his brother Paolo followed him Thursday at age 92.

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Italian director Paolo Taviani has died at the age of 92

For decades, the inseparable Taviani brothers jointly signed landmark films in Italian cinema, including the masterpiece “Padre padrone”, Palme d'Or at Cannes in 1977: Vittorio died in 2018 at the age of 88 and his brother Paolo followed him Thursday at age 92.

“With Paolo Taviani, a great master of Italian cinema is leaving us. With his brother Vittorio (died in 2018 at the age of 88, Editor's note), he created unforgettable, deep, committed films, which entered the collective imagination in the history of cinema,” greeted the mayor of Rome Roberto Gualtieri on The Taviani brothers, who formed a rare duo in the history of the 7th art, have co-signed a total of around fifteen feature films marked by a very literary style, mixing history, psychoanalysis and poetry.

Shock film, Padre padrone, which can be literally translated as “Father-boss”, is an adaptation of the autobiographical novel by Gavino Ledda, about the story of a young shepherd escaping the despotic control of his father who, by necessity financial, had forced him to abandon school, leaving him illiterate until the age of twenty. “Paolo Taviani was half of an enchanting duo (...) With his older brother Vittorio, a sort of grace touched their films of inimitable moral rigor and poetry,” the former president reacted Thursday evening of the Cannes Film Festival Gilles Jacob.

After the death of his two-year-old senior, Paolo Taviani found the strength to shoot one last film alone, “Leonora Addio”, presented at the Berlinale in 2022. During the preparation of “Leonora Addio”, Vittorio, to whom the film is dedicated, was no longer physically at his side, but “he was with me”, confided the patriarch of Italian cinema during an interview in Berlin with AFP. Strongly inspired by the master of neo-realism Roberto Rosselini, the two brothers, sons of an anti-fascist lawyer, were interested in social themes from their beginnings in the 1960s.

“Vittorio and I decided to make films when I was sixteen and he was eighteen, seeing Païsa by Rosselini,” he confided to AFP. “We then understood that films could change our lives and reveal who we really were.” “Years later, we won the Palme d’Or for Padre Padrone, awarded by Rosselini, and it was like a circle closing,” he said.

Passionate about cinema from their youth, the two brothers born in Tuscany moved to Rome in the 1950s. One of their first films, The Subversives (1967), prefigures the events of 1968 in the form of an investigation into the Italian Communist Party at the time of the funeral of one of its founders, Palmiro Togliatti. Inspired by Brecht, Pasolini and Godard, they then made Under the Sign of the Scorpion (1969), their first color film with Gian Maria Volontè in the lead role, which will also be their first big success. After the coronation in Cannes of Padre Padrone, they returned to the Croisette in 1982 with The Night of San Lorenzo, a film with a magical atmosphere which received the Grand Jury Prize.

In 2012, with Caesar Must Die, where they performed Shakespeare's tragedy for the inmates of the Roman prison of Rebibbia, the Taviani brothers won the Golden Bear at the Berlin Festival. In 1986, they also received an honorary Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, paying tribute to their entire career.

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