Vittorio Taviani, who won the Palme d’Or with his brother for directing Padre Padrone (1977), has died. He was 88.
His daughter Giovanna announced his death to the Italian Wire Service ANSA on Sunday. She said he had died after a long illness.
The brothers also co-wrote and co-directed Caesar Must Die (2012), a docudrama of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar set in a maximum-security prison that won the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival; the episodic Kaos (1984), and Good Morning, Babylon (1987) about two Italian immigrants working on D.W. Griffith’s silent epic Intolerance (1916).
Their television work included adaptions of Leo Tolstoy’s last novel Resurrection, and Alexandre Dumas’ 1864 novel La Sanfelice.
“It’s very difficult to explain this abnormal relationship,” his brother Paolo told the New York Times in 1977, “There’s‐no real division of roles or responsibilities. One is not more important than the other—we’re on the same level. We always talk things over. There is a strange equilibrium between us which we cannot rationalize. Maybe it’s that Vittorio is an introvert and I’m an extrovert and so we complement each other.”
Padre Padrone won the main prize at the 1977 Cannes Film Festival (as well as the FIPRESCI Prize) and was an adaptation of an autobiographical memoir by Italian scholar Gavino Ledda. It told of his life as an illiterate shepherd growing up with a domineering father.
The Night of the Shooting Stars (1982) was a war fable focussing on a small Italian village in San Martino at the mercy of a retreating Nazi army. It won Best Film from the National Society of Film Critics, the Boston Society of Film Critics, and the Grand Prix award at Cannes.
Vittorio was born in San Miniato, Tuscany on Sep. 20 1929, two years before his brother.
Their father was a lawyer, an anti-fascist who fled persecution with the family to Pisa.
Vittorio studied law, and one day with his brother they sneaked out from their university studies to view Roberto Rossellini’s epic Paisan (1946) set during the Italian Campaign of WWII. The film opened old wounds for the brothers.
“Then and there we decided that we would become filmmakers,” Vittoria said.
– by Rhett Bartlett