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Paolo Taviani, director of literature and civil commitment, has died

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Paolo Taviani, director of literature and civil commitment, has died

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The director Paolo Taviani has died in Rome at the age of 92, after a brief illness. Together with his brother Vittorio, who passed away in 2018, after the Second World War, he formed “the couple” of Italian militant cinema, capable of transcribing the pages onto the screen most beautiful of committed literature.

Born in the province of Pisa, in San Miniato, in 1931, it was in Pisa that he began to demonstrate his cinematic “furor” and, again with his brother Vittorio, he was among the animators of the Cineclub of Pisa. And from there it is impossible to tell his professional and human story without that of Vittorio.

From the beginning they directed together, initially documentary works, including San Miniato July ’44, with the contribution to the screenplay by Cesare Zavattini, and then shot their first fiction film I sovversivi (1967), with which they anticipated the 1968 protest that blossomed the next year. It was the era of Brecht’s great success at the Piccolo Teatro and of the French New Wave. The two brothers managed to make those germs their own and bring them to the big screen in their own way with Gian Maria Volonté in Under the Sign of the Scorpion.

Literary talent

Then they were above all interpreters of great literature: San Michele had a rooster (1972) is the adaptation of Tolstoy’s story The Divine and the Human and in 1977 Master Father, based on the novel by Gavino Ledda on the harsh laws of patriarchy in Sardinia, it earned the two brothers the Palme d’Or. From there their career took a different course, even more authorial, which however never took away from the two brothers that sly air and hand that they have always had over the years.

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At Cannes they received another important recognition, the special jury grand prize, with La notte di San Lorenzo (1982) about the massacre of the San Miniato cathedral in 1944, thus returning to the themes of their first documentary, but with a magical realist register . It is no coincidence that during their long career the two brothers had worked with Tonino Guerra who had always left the male of his fantastic and dazed, painful and sensual vision in peasant fatalism. Another notable adaptation later, in 1996, was The Elective Affinities (1996), from Goethe’s novel of the same name;

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