Acclaimed Italian director Paolo Taviani dies aged 92

WDP Blog

Acclaimed Italian director Paolo Taviani dies aged 92

The filmmaker, who won the Palme d’Or for 1977’s ‘Padre Padrone’ and the Golden Bear for for 2012’s ‘Caesar Must Die’, was a towering cinematic presence for more than three decades.

Italian film-maker Paolo Taviani, whose film Padre Padrone won top prize at Cannes and the Golden Bear in Berlin for Caesar Must Die, has died aged 92, Rome’s mayor, Roberto Gualtieri announced.

For more than three decades Taviani and his brother Vittorio formed one of cinema’s greatest directorial duos.

“Paolo Taviani, a great maestro of Italian cinema, leaves us,” Gualtieri said on X. The brothers “directed unforgettable, profound, committed films which entered into the collective imagination and the history of cinema”, Gualtieri added.

Taviani died in a clinic in Rome after suffering from a short illness, according to media reports. His wife and two children were at his bedside, according to Anasa news agency, which said Taviani’s funeral would be on Monday (4 March).

Along with Vittorio, who died in 2018, the Tavianis made politically engaged films together for more than half a century.

Padre Padrone, set in Sardinia, won the Palme d’Or at Cannes in 1977. The film is an adaptation of Gavino Ledda’s autobiographical novel about a young shepherd who escapes the despotic control of his father.

Another of the brothers’ critically acclaimed films, 2012’s Caesar Must Die, won the Golden Bear prize at the Berlin Film Festival.

Directors Vittorio Taviani, left, and Paolo Taviani pose for the photo call of the film Cesare deve morire (Ceasar Must Die) at the 62 edition of the BerlinaleMichael Sohn/AP

After his brother’s death in 2018, Paolo Taviani premiered a movie on his own. Leonora Addio, which screened at the Berlinale film festival in 2022, explores death and the legacy of creative endeavours, and was based on an idea the brothers came up with together.

Taviani was born in 1931 in San Miniato in Tuscany. The brothers’ father was an anti-fascist lawyer and they had an early interest in social issues, which they translated on to the screen with works known for their mix of history, psychological analysis and lyricism.

His death “leaves an unfillable void not only in the world of cinema, but in the hearts of all of us who shared his origins, but also his love for this land,” said Eugenio Giani, the governor of Tuscany.

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