FOTOgrammi 2015


 MARIO MONICELLI  was born in Rome (according to Stefano Della Casa researches) or in Viareggio (according to Monicelli in an audio interview granted me in 1994, author’s note) the 16th of May 1915 from Mantuan parents. His father was a journalist for the Resto del Carlino and l’Avanti! and his aunt was Arnoldo Mondadori’s wife. After his childhood in Rome he moved to Milan where he finished high school and started University. He founded a newspaper, Camminare, with other directors as Freda and Lattuada, where he used to write about cinematographic critic. He came back to Tuscany, in Pisa, to graduate in Philosophy and Letters. He debuted with the short film Cuore rivelatore in 1934 based on Edgar Allan Poe’s tale. The next year he made his first long length-movie: I ragazzi della via Paal. After a second film two years later there was a pause because of the war, and he came back in 1949 with Totò cerca casa, that he directed with Steno (Stefano Vanzina). Other movies with Totò followed (Totò e le donne, Guardie e ladri and Totò e Carolina) and also Vita da cani(with Aldo Fabrizi, Gina Lollobrigida and Marcello Mastroianni) in 1950. In 1955 he directed Alberto Sordi in Un eroe dei nostri tempi. The film that legitimised him as an Italian comedy master is I soliti ignoti in 1958, that will be considered one of the absolute masterpieces in Italian cinema. In 1959 he hit the mark again with the dramatic implications-comedy La grande guerra with Gassman and Sordi, while Totò and Anna Magnani interpreted a new couple in Risate di gioia in 1960, where a very young Ben Gazzara acted. Between 1963 and 1965 he got two nominations for the Oscar for the Best Original Screenplay first for I compagni and then for Casanova 70. In the second middle of the Sixties he made another two Italian comedies: L’armata Brancaleone in 1966 with Vittorio Gassman (that will have a sequel in 1970) and La ragazza con la pistola in 1968, where Monica Vitti debuted as a comedy role. From 1974 to 1977 a sequel of magic touches: first Romanzo popolare with Ugo Tognazzi and Ornella Muti , then the first episode of the Amici miei saga, based on a Pietro Germi’s screenplay, through Caro Michele with an excellent Mariangela Melato and to end Un borghese piccolo piccolo, one of Alberto Sordi’s best dramatic roles. In the 80’s he made Il marchese del Grillo and especially Speriamo che sia femmina. In 1990 Giancarlo Giannini interpreted the underestimated Il male oscuro from Giuseppe Berto’s tale, while Parenti serpenti in 1992, with a group of excellent actors captained by Marina Confalone and Paolo Panelli was very successful. The last movies are Facciamo Paradiso in 1995 from one of the tales of Giuseppe Pontiggia’s Vite di uomini non illustri, with Margherita Buy; Panni sporchi with Gigi Proietti in 1999. He worked on some documentaries until the end of the first decade of the twenty-first century and at the age of 95 he decided to take off his life because of a terminal prostate cancer. -



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