Tavianni, Vittorio: Paolo’s Borther, Cannes Fest Winners for Padre Padrone Dies at 88

Italian director Vittorio Taviani, member of the multiple award-winning Taviani brothers, has died at 88 after a long illness.

Vittorio was the older of the prolific Taviani brothers who emerged in the 1970s as the revered filmmaking duo. Their works blended neo-realism with more modern storytelling in works such as Padre Padrone, which won the 1977 Cannes Film Fest Palme d’Or.

It was followed by World War II drama The Night of the Shooting Stars,  in 1982, which in my view is their best film.

In 1984, they were back in Cannes with “Kaos” (released in the US by Fine Line), which is based on Pirandello.

Born in the Tuscan town of San Miniato, Vittorio and Paolo Taviani moved to nearby Pisa where as high-school students they became aspiring directors. “We walked into a movie theater called Cinema Italia, which no longer exists, and there was a film playing called ‘Paisà’ that we had never heard of,” they told in a 2016 interview. That experience “really blew our minds,” they said.  “We had experienced the war as kids, and very deeply. But what we were seeing on screen made that reality so much clearer for us. This movie was telling us things about ourselves that we did not know. So we said to ourselves: ‘If cinema has this strength, this power to reveal to ourselves our own truths, then we will make movies!’

The Taviani brothers won the Berlin Golden Bear, in 2012, with “Caesar Must Die,” which is about a group of high-security inmates acting Shakespeare.

They then made “Wondrous Boccaccio,” in 2014, an adaptation of “The Decameron” and “Una Questione Privata” in 2017, based on a novella by Italian author Beppe Fenoglio.