Great Italian Director Mario Monicelli Dies
Mario Monicelli, four times nominated for the Academy Award, is considered one of the great names in post-war Italian cinematography and he is mostly famous for directing movies like Amici Miei (My Dear Friends) and I Soliti Ignoti (Persons Unknown). He debuted in 1949 as a film director and, alongside of his career, he played an important role in launching the careers of Claudia Cardinale, Marcello Mastroianni and Vittorio Gassman, in his 1958 movie “I Soliti Ignoti” (released in the UK with the title of “Persons Unknown” and in the US as “Big Deal on Madonna Street”. One year later, he won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival for a comedy entitled The Great War, the story of two Italian young men who tried to avoid going to the front line, in World War I.
Monicelli was admitted to San Giovanni hospital in Rome, a few days ago, where he was getting treatment for terminal prostate cancer. At the beginning of this week, he jumped from the fifth floor and died. He was, and still is nonetheless, considered a brilliant director and “an out-of-the-box thinker”, and his work was described as “the institution of Italian comedy”.
Throughout his career, Monicelli directed 70 films and his favourite subjects were about regular people in extraordinary circumstances. One of his best known films is A Very Little Man, 1977, about a man whose son is killed in a robbery and therefore tries to make justice all by himself. His opinion upon Italian comedy is that “sometimes it’s bitter, sometimes ironic, in some cases even dramatic, tragic”.
He was known for his left-side views in politics and even encouraged students to protest against the government’s measures for reducing the culture budget, last year.
Italy’s President Giorgio Napolitano paid tribute to Monicelli, saying that he will be “remembered by millions of Italians for the way he moved them and for how he made them laugh and reflect”.11