08 December 2010

In Memory of Mario Monicelli



Mario Monicelli (May 16, 1915 – November 29, 2010) was an Italian director and screenwriter and one of the masters of theCommedia all'Italiana (Comedy Italian style).
....  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")
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 a Academy Award nomination for the best foreign film. The film, featuring Gassman and the other superstar of Italian comedy, Alberto Sordi, excelled in the absence of rethorical 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 Organizer1963) and The Girl with the Pistol (1968).
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.
.... In 1991 he received the Golden Lion for Career of the Venice Film Festival.
.... Monicelli died on November 29, 2010 at the age of 95, after comitting suicide by jumping from a window of the San Giovanni hospital in Rome, where he was admitted a few days earlier for prostate cancer.[5][6]

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