Award-winning Italian filmmaker Paolo Taviani dies at 92

Award-winning Italian filmmaker Paolo Taviani dies at 92

/ 04:43 PM March 01, 2024

Paolo Taviani

Italian film director and screenwriter Paolo Taviani poses during the photo call for the film “Leonora Addio” presented in competition during the 72nd Berlinale Film Festival in Berlin on Feb. 15, 2022. Taviani, whose gritty biopic “Padre Padrone” won the top Cannes Film Festival prize, has died aged 92, Rome mayor Roberto Gualtieri said on Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024. STEFANIE LOOS / AFP

ROME—Italian filmmaker Paolo Taviani, whose gritty biopic “Padre Padrone” won the top Cannes Film Festival prize, has died aged 92, Rome mayor Roberto Gualtieri said Thursday, Feb. 29.

For more than three decades Taviani and his brother Vittorio formed one of cinema’s greatest directorial duos.


“Paolo Taviani, a great maestro of Italian cinema, leaves us,” Gualtieri said on X, the former Twitter.


The brothers “directed unforgettable, profound, committed films which entered into the collective imagination and the history of cinema,” Gualtieri said.

Taviani died in a clinic in Rome after suffering from a short illness, according to media reports.

His wife and two children were at his bedside, according to ANSA news agency, which said Taviani’s funeral would be celebrated on Monday.

Paolo and Vittorio, who died in 2018, made politically engaged films together for more than half a century.

“Padre Padrone,” set in Sardinia, won the Palme d’Or prize at the Cannes festival in 1977.

The film is an adaptation of Gavino Ledda’s autobiographical novel about a young shepherd who escapes the despotic control of his father.


Former Cannes president Gilles Jacob told AFP Paolo Taviani was “one half of an enchanting duo.”

After his brother’s death in 2018, Paolo Taviani premiered a movie on his own.

“Leonora Addio,” which screened at the Berlinale film festival in 2022, explores death and the legacy of creative endeavors, and was based on an idea the brothers came up with together.

‘Still with me’

Despite Vittorio’s death, “he is still with me,” Taviani told AFP at the time.

He described how the brothers had been inspired by the master of Neorealism, Italian director Roberto Rossellini.

“When we decided to do cinema, Vittorio was 18 and I was 16. And it was because we saw ‘Paisan’ by Rossellini,” Taviani said in the interview.

“We realized that if films can change lives and can reveal us, our truth, then we wanted to make movies in our lives.”

Jacob said Paolo and Vittorio were “heirs to Rossellini,” adding that “a kind of grace touched their films of inimitable moral rigor and poetry.”

“Padre padrone” and 1982 fantasy war drama “The Night of the Shooting Stars” were miracles of strength and delicacy, Jacob said.

Another of the brothers’ critically acclaimed films is 2012’s “Caesar Must Die,” for which they won the Golden Bear prize at the Berlin International Film Festival.

The brothers’ father was an anti-fascist lawyer and they had an early interest in social issues, which they translated onto the screen with works known for their mix of history, psychological analysis and lyricism.

Taviani was born in 1931 in San Miniato in Tuscany.

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His death “leaves an unfillable void not only in the world of cinema, but in the hearts of all of us who shared his origins, but also his love for this land,” said Eugenio Giani, the governor of Tuscany.

TAGS: Film, Italy, Obit

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