Feted Italian film director Taviani dies

Celebrated Italian director Vittorio Taviani has died aged 88, his family says.
Celebrated Italian director Vittorio Taviani has died aged 88, his family says.

Celebrated Italian director Vittorio Taviani, who made more than 20 films alongside his brother Paolo, has died aged 88, his family says.

The pair worked together for more than half a century producing some of the most famous films of post-War Italian cinema, including Padre Padrone, which took top honours at the 1977 Cannes film festival.

Their prison drama Caesar Must Die, a docu-drama in which murderers and mafiosi acted out a Shakespearean tragedy in a high-security Italian jail, won the Golden Bear award for best picture at the Berlin film festival in 2012.

"Vittorio Taviani's death is a terrible loss for Italian cinema and culture," President Sergio Mattarella said in a statement on Sunday, praising the "unforgettable masterpieces" that he made with his younger brother.

The pair developed a unique working relationship, taking turns to direct individual scenes in their films and never interfering when the other was in charge.

"We have different characters but the same nature. Our choices in life and art are the same," Vittorio told the Guardian newspaper in an interview in 2013.

They often adapted high-brow literature, including works by the Italian author Luigi Pirandello (Kaos and You Laugh), Russia's Leo Tolstoy (Resurrection and Night Sun) and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Elective Affinities).

The last picture where they shared the directing credit was in 2015 with Wondrous Boccaccio, which was based on stories from The Decameron by the Renaissance writer Giovanni Boccaccio.

Vittorio Taviani was born in San Miniato, Tuscany, in 1929. He began his professional life as a journalist before joining forces with his brother, initially making documentaries before transitioning to cinema.

Australian Associated Press