Last modified on 21 September 2014, at 16:51

Mario Monicelli

Mario Monicelli
MarioMonicelli.jpg
Born (1915-05-16)16 May 1915
Rome, Italy
Died 29 November 2010(2010-11-29) (aged 95)
Rome, Italy
Occupation Screenwriter, director, actor
Years active 1935–2010
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: [ˈmarjo moniˈtʃɛlli]; 16 May 1915 – 29 November 2010) was a six times-Oscar nominated Italian director and screenwriter and one of the masters of the Commedia all'Italiana (Comedy Italian style).

BiographyEdit

Monicelli was born in Rome and was the youngest son of the journalist Tommaso Monicelli. His older brother Giorgio worked as writer and translator. Another older brother, Franco, was a journalist.

He attended studies in the local lyceum, and entered into the film world through his friendship with Giacomo Forzano, son of the playwright Giovacchino Forzano, who had been encharged by Benito Mussolini with the founding of cinema studios in Tirrenia. Monicelli lived a carefree youth, and many of the cinematic jokes he later shot in Amici Miei were taken from his experience.

Monicelli made his first short in 1934, a collaboration with his friend Alberto Mondadori. He followed this work up 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.[1] His first feature length work was made in 1937 (Pioggia d'estate, "Summer Rain").[2] In the years 1939–1942 Monicelli also produced numerous screenplays (up to 40), and worked as an assistant director.

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.

Monicelli's career include some of the masterpieces of Italian cinema. In I soliti ignoti (Big Deal on Madonna Street) (1958), again featuring the ubiquitous comedian Totò, he discovered the comical talent of Vittorio Gassman and Marcello Mastroianni and probably produced the first true commedia all'italiana. While it is more well known in the English-speaking world as Big Deal on Madonna Street, the actual translation from the Italian is "the usual unknown perpetrators" (which is similar to the famous line from Casablanca of "Round up the usual suspects"). The film was nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 31st Academy Awards.[3]

La Grande Guerra (The Great War), released one year later, is generally regarded as his finest work. For this work Monicelli was awarded a Leone d'Oro in the Venice Film Festival, and an Academy Award nomination for the Best Foreign Film.[4] 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 well in Italian's 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).[5]

L'armata Brancaleone (For Love and Gold, 1966) is another masterpiece of Italian cinema. The film tells the story of a Middle Age Italy's poor but pompous knight (played by Gassman) from a humorous point of view. Highlighted by Gasmann the bizarre Macaronic Latin-Italian dialogues were devised by Age & Scarpelli, the most renowned writers of Italian comedies, it was followed by Brancaleone alle Crociate (Brancaleone at the Crusades) in 1970.

Amici miei (My Friends, 1975), featuring Ugo Tognazzi and Philippe Noiret, was one of the most successful films in Italy and confirmed Monicelli's skill in mixing humour, irony and bitter feelings. His 1976 film Caro Michele won him the Silver Bear for Best Director at the 26th Berlin International Film Festival.[6] The dramatic accents were predominant in the Un borghese piccolo piccolo (A Very Little Man, 1978), but left pace again to comicity and popularesque history with Il Marchese del Grillo (1981). Both films featured Alberto Sordi at his best. At the 32nd Berlin International Film Festival Il Marchese del Grillo won him his third Silver Bear for Best Director award.[7]

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.[8] His 1999 film Dirty Linen was entered into the 21st Moscow International Film Festival.[9] 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.

Monicelli worked also for television and theatre, occasionally as an actor, and was a noteworthy playwright in his own right. Apart from those already mentioned, actors who were launched by Monicelli or played in his movies include Monica Vitti, Anna Magnani, Giancarlo Giannini, Stefania Sandrelli, Vittorio De Sica, Sophia Loren, Enrico Maria Salerno, Gian Maria Volonté, Paolo Villaggio, Nino Manfredi and Enrico Montesano.

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 was admitted a few days earlier for prostate cancer.[10][11]

He was an atheist.[12]

FilmographyEdit

DirectorEdit

ScreenplaysEdit

ActorEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Mario Monicelli obituary". guardian.co.uk (London). 30 November 2010. Retrieved 2010-11-29. 
  2. ^ "Tragic death of film director". italymag. Retrieved 2010-11-24. 
  3. ^ "The 31st Academy Awards (1959) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. Retrieved 2011-10-27. 
  4. ^ "The 32nd Academy Awards (1960) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. Retrieved 2011-10-27. 
  5. ^ "The 41st Academy Awards (1969) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. Retrieved 2011-11-15. 
  6. ^ "Berlinale Archive 1976". berlinale.de. Retrieved November 30, 2010. 
  7. ^ "Berlinale Archive 1982". berlinale.de. Retrieved November 30, 2010. 
  8. ^ "Berlinale: 1994 Prize Winners". berlinale.de. Retrieved 2011-06-11. 
  9. ^ "21st Moscow International Film Festival (1999)". MIFF. Retrieved 2013-03-24. 
  10. ^ "Mario Monicelli morto suicida a Roma" (in Italian). Corriere della Sera. 29 November 2010. Retrieved 29 November 2010. 
  11. ^ Roston, Michael (29 November 2010). "Mario Monicelli, Italian Director, Dies at 95". The New York Times. Retrieved 30 November 2010. 
  12. ^ Article of La Voce (In Italian).

External linksEdit