Cinema of Italy: Other authors from 1950 to 2006

Although we can identify the golden age of Italian cinema, both artistically and productively, in the 1950s and 1960s, in recent years more directors have achieved the status of "authors", being able to reach fame and international recognition.

Ermanno Olmi is considered by many the catholic opposite of Pasolini: a rare example of poet-director but opposed to the Marxist ideology of Pasolini’s movies. Since the movie debut in 1958 of “Il tempo si è fermato”, an emotional parable between the relationship of man with nature, Olmi’s artistic gift and inspiration emerge.

Fame will come 3 years later with “Il posto” (1961), a bittersweet portrait of the city and people of Milan during the economic boom. After several transitional works, 1978 will be the year Ermanno Olmi achieves international fame and success with “L’albero degli zoccoli”, an elegiac fresco on a peasant world long gone, winner in Cannes of Palm d’Or.

After a long illness, Olmi returns to work in the 80s with the surreal “Lunga vita alla signora” (1987) and the deep “La leggenda del santo bevitore” (1988) awarded with The Leone d’oro in Venice. In 2001 the aging director will complete what many call it his masterpiece: “Il mestiere delle armi”, dedicated to the mythical “Giovanni dalle bande nere”. The movie, a surprising success of the public, will win 9 David di Donatello in 2002.

A renewed interest from the critics accompanies the opening of subsequent movies like “Cantando dietro i paraventi” (2003) and “Centochiodi” (2007), considered his last movie.

In the 1950s Marco Ferreri became known for his grotesque and provocative style, at times inspired by Bunuel. The most important titles of the first phase of his career are: “El pisito” (1958), “El cochecito” (1959), both filmed in Spain and “La donna scimmia” (1964). He achieves full artistic maturity with “Dillinger è morto” (1969), a distraught and very modern masterpiece about the alienation of human life in the modern world.

After the kafkian and surreal work of “L’udienza” in 1971, Ferreri will gain international fame with the surprising and talked-about “La grande abbuffata” in 1973. In the final years of his career (after several provocative but unfinished works) critics will laude “La casa del sorriso” (1991) and “Diario di un vizio” (1993).

Bernardo Bertolucci approaches the cinema thanks to Pier Paolo Pasolini as his assistant on the set of “Accattone”. But he will quickly detach himself from the world of Pasolini and its poetry to follow a personal idea of film making, based mostly on the individual human beings been exposed to sudden changes in their world and surroundings, at a political and existentialist level, without really looking for sure answers.

He is very young when he releases “La commare secca” (1962) and he gets more attention with “Prima della rivoluzione” (1964). In the early 1970s he releases 3 of his most important movies: “Il conformista” (1970) from a novel by Moravia, the metaphysical “La strategia del ragno” (1970) and the most scandalous movie of the 70s: “Last Tango in Paris” in 1972.

In 1976 Bertolucci becomes a director of international fame with “Novecento”, a movie with mixed reviews, and later on he spends time working on more intimate and personal movies. In 1987 we witness a new turn on his career with a major production set in China about the last emperor: “L’ultimo imperatore”. Acclaimed all over the world the movie will walk away from the Oscars with 9 awards, including Best Movie and Best Director.

In the following years Bertolucci continues to produce big movies for the international market, such as “Il te nel deserto” (1990) and “Il piccolo Buddha” (1993) set in Nepal and United States. The second half of the 90s and the first of the new millennium, Bertolucci is again exploring intimate themes with “Io ballo da sola” (1996) and “The Dreamers” (2003).

After many directorial work for RAI, the national radio and television broadcast station, Gianni Amelio debuts in the movie field with “Colpire al cuore” (1982) a movie about terrorism that doesn’t go unnoticed by the critics. After the interesting “I ragazzi di via Panisperna” about the legendary group of physicists headed by Enrico Fermi, he reaches international fame and receives an award for “Porte aperte”, from the novel by Leonardo Sciascia.

In the following movies Gianni Amelio develops themes more tied to the social condition and reality, with uneasy participation and artistic sensibility. With “Il ladro di bambini” (1992), his greatest commercial success, Amelio wins the special jury prize at the Cannes Film Festival and the European Film Award as Best Movie, in addition to two Nastri d’Argento and five David di Donatello.

In 1994 his movie “Lamerica” wins the Osella d’oro at the Venice Film Festival and the Premio Passinetti award as Best Movie. Four years later, “Così ridevano”, probably his most difficult work to be understood by all audiences, wins the Leone d’oro in Venice. After “Le chiavi di casa” (2004) about the problematic relationship between a father and his disabled son, Amelio is looking for a breath of fresh air with “La stella che non c’è” set in Italy and China with Sergio Castellito in the leading role.

Nanni Moretti begins his movie career with the amateurial “Io sono autarchico” (1976) and suddenly everyone is talking about him; he is recognized for the unusual sarcasm used to describe problems related to the youth of those times. “Ecce Bombo” (1978) seals the fame of Moretti with the critic and he obtains an unexpected success from the public.

After the brainy “Sogni d’oro” (1981), in the mid 80s Moretti produces two movies that are artistically steps ahead from the previous ones: “Bianca” (1984) an intriguing, very personal thriller, while “La messa e finita” (1985), where Moretti plays a priest, is considered by many his ultimate masterpiece and one of the most memorable movies of the decade.

After winning the Silver Lion at the Berlin Film Festival in 1986, Moretti will dedicate himself to develop new themes, from politics with the documentary “La cosa” about the dissolving of the Communist Party to the cryptic subject theme of Palombella rossa, in which the political contents are an integral part of our history.

Finally in 1993 Moretti will achieve international fame with “Caro diario” winning the Best Director award at the Cannes Film Festival in 1994. After another (not so convincing) personal diary “Aprile” (1998), in 2001 Moretti wins the Palm d’or in Cannes with “La stanza del figlio”, a movie about the effects of an accidental death of a son in a surviving middle class family.

In 2006 he films “Il caimano” inspired by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. The movie, after been shown during the electoral political campaign of the same year, generated controversy by showing the catastrophic effect of a political leader refusing to resign.