Mario Monicelli

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Mario Monicelli
MarioMonicelli.jpg
Monicelli in 2007
Born(1915-05-16)16 May 1915
Rome, Italy
Died29 November 2010(2010-11-29) (aged 95)
Rome, Italy
OccupationScreenwriter, director, actor
Years active1935–2010
Awards Silver Bear for Best Director
1957 Padri e figli
1976 Caro Michele
1981 Il Marchese del Grillo
Golden Lion
1959 La Grande Guerra
Career Golden Lion
1991 Lifetime Achievement

Mario Monicelli (Italian:  [ˈmaːrjo moniˈtʃɛlli] ; 16 May 1915 – 29 November 2010) was an Italian film director and screenwriter and one of the masters of the Commedia all'Italiana (Comedy Italian style). He was nominated six times for an Oscar.

Contents

Biography

Monicelli was born in Rome to a well-do family from Ostiglia [1] , a comune in the province of Mantua, in the Northern Italian region of Lombardy, as the youngest son of journalist Tommaso Monicelli and Maria Carreri. His older half-brother, Giorgio (whose mother was actress Elisa Severi), worked as writer and translator. An older brother, Franco, was a journalist. Raised in Rome, Viareggio (Tuscany) and Milan [2] [1] , he entered the film world through his friendship with Giacomo Forzano, son of playwright Giovacchino Forzano, who had been put in charge of the founding of cinema studios in Tirrenia by Benito Mussolini. Monicelli lived a carefree youth, and many of the cinematic jokes he later shot in Amici Miei (My Friends) were inspired by his owns experienced during his youth in Tuscany.

Monicelli made his first short in 1934, in collaboration with his friend Alberto Mondadori. He followed up this work with the silent film I ragazzi della Via Paal (an adaptation of the novel The Paul Street Boys ), which was an award-winner in the Venice Film Festival. [3] His first feature length work was made in 1937 ( Pioggia d'estate , "Summer Rain"). [4] From 1939–42, he produced up to 40 numerous screenplays, and worked as an assistant director.[ citation needed ]

Monicelli made his official debut as a director in 1949, with Totò cerca casa, along with Steno. From the very beginning of his career Monicelli's cinematic style had a remarkable flow to it. The duo produced eight successful movies in four years, including Guardie e ladri (1951) and Totò a colori (1952). From 1953 onwards Monicelli worked alone, without leaving his role as a writer of screenplays.[ citation needed ]

Monicelli's career includes some of the masterpieces of Italian cinema. In I soliti ignoti (Big Deal on Madonna Street) (1958), featuring the ubiquitous comedian Totò in a side role, he discovered the comical talent of Vittorio Gassman and Marcello Mastroianni and probably started the new genre of the modern commedia all'italiana.

While better known in the English-speaking world under the title Big Deal on Madonna Street, the actual translation from the Italian is "the usual unknown perpetrators" (closely resembling the famous line from Casablanca : "Round up the usual suspects"). The film was nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 31st Academy Awards. [5]

La Grande Guerra ( The Great War ), with Vittorio Gassman, Alberto Sordi and Silvana Mangano released one year later, is generally regarded as one of his most successful works, which rewarded Monicelli with a Leone d'Oro in the Venice Film Festival, and an Academy Award nomination for the Best Foreign Film. [6]

The film, featuring Gassman and the other superstar of Italian comedy, Alberto Sordi, excelled in the absence of rhetorical accents (the tragedy of World War I was still very present in Italians' minds in these years) and for its sharp, tragicomical sense of history. Monicelli received two more Academy Award nominations with I compagni (The Organizer, 1963) and The Girl with the Pistol (1968). [7]

L'armata Brancaleone (For Love and Gold, 1966) is another masterpiece of Italian cinema. The film tells the tragicomic tale of a Middle Ages Italian knight, with uncertain nobility and few means but high ideals, self-confidence and pomposity (Vittorio Gassman). The bizarre Macaronic Latin-Italian dialogues were devised by Age & Scarpelli, the most renowned writers of Italian comedies, and represent a whole linguistic invention which was followed by Brancaleone alle Crociate (Brancaleone at the Crusades) in 1970, and less successfully in Bertoldo, Bertoldino e Cacasenno .[ citation needed ]

Amici miei (My Friends, 1975), featuring Ugo Tognazzi, Adolfo Celi, Gastone Moschin, Duilio Del Prete and Philippe Noiret, was one of the most successful films in Italy and confirmed Monicelli's genius in mixing humour, irony and bitter understanding of the human condition. The film was popular to the point that some lines are today turned into well established idiomatic expression ("la supercazzola"), and even a programming language ("monicelli") has been created using a syntax based on film quotes. His 1976 film Caro Michele won him the Silver Bear for Best Director at the 26th Berlin International Film Festival. [8]

Dramatic accents were predominant in the Un borghese piccolo piccolo (A Very Little Man, 1978), but he turned again to more cheerful comedy and attention to historical events from a popular, intimate point of view with Il Marchese del Grillo (1981). Both films featured Alberto Sordi at his best, the latter leading Monicelli to his third Silver Bear for Best Director award at the 32nd Berlin International Film Festival. [9]

Among the final works by Monicelli are Speriamo che sia femmina (1985), Parenti serpenti (1992) and Cari fottutissimi amici (1994), featuring Paolo Hendel. The latter won an Honourable Mention at the 44th Berlin International Film Festival. [10] His 1999 film Dirty Linen was entered into the 21st Moscow International Film Festival. [11]

His last feature film was The Roses of the Desert ( Le rose del deserto , 2006), which he directed when he was 91 years old. In 1991 he received the Golden Lion for Career of the Venice Film Festival. A documentary made by Roberto Salinas and Marina Catucci, Una storia da ridere, breve biografia di Mario Monicelli, appeared in 2008.[ citation needed ]

Death

Monicelli died on 29 November 2010 at the age of 95. He committed suicide by jumping from a window of the San Giovanni Hospital in Rome, where he had been admitted a few days earlier for prostate cancer. [12] [13] He had two daughters, Martina (1967) and Ottavia (1974), from Antonella Salerni. He had a third daughter, Rosa (1988), from his last companion Chiara Rapaccini. [14]

He was an outspoken atheist. [15]

Filmography

Director

Screenplays

Actor

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References

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