Italian film director Vittorio Taviani dies aged 88

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President pays tribute to director who worked with brother on award-winning films

Associated Press in Milan

The Italian film director Vittorio Taviani, who with his brother Paolo Taviani created Italian cinema masterpieces, has died at the age of 88.

The Italian president, Sergio Mattarella, said Taviani’s death on Sunday in Rome after a long illness was “a great loss for Italian cinema and culture, which are losing an undeniable and beloved protagonist”.

The Taviani brothers were in their early 80s when they won the Golden Bear at the Berlin film festival in 2012 for the documentary Caesar Must Die, which showed inmates of a high-security prison staging the Shakespearean tragedy. At the time, Taviana said he and his brother wanted to remind audiences that “even an inmate, on whose head is a terrible punishment, is, and remains, a man”.

Their first big success came in 1977 when they won the Palm d’Or at Cannes for Padre Padrone, about a shepherd in Sardinia who sought to escape his domineering father by educating himself. The brothers came across the story in a newspaper article and then a book. “It seemed right away to us a beautiful story, a story to make,” Tsuraviani said. “We felt united with this story.”

The brothers alternated directing scenes in their 50-year career, earning dozens of awards. Their last film, in 2017, was titled Una Questione Privata, which was credited to both but directed by Paolo alone owing to Vittorio’s health, according to Corriere della Sera.

They were born in San Miniato, Tuscany, in an anti-fascist family who cultivated their sense of social justice and love of culture. Asked once if the brothers ever fought, Vittorio responded: “Of course. But not on set. When we play tennis.”

In addition to Paolo, 86, Vittorio Taviani is survived by a son, Giuliano Taviani, a composer who collaborated on Caesar Must Die.

 

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