Paolo Taviani – the classic maestro of Italian cinema

The director, who won the Palme d'Or for the 1977 film Padre Padrone, left his mark on classic Italian cinema for more than three decades, creating works that touched on politics. For more than three decades Taviani and his brother Vittorio formed one of cinema's greatest directing duos

 Italian director Paolo Taviani, whose biopic won the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival, Padre Padrone, has died at the age of 92, Rome Mayor Roberto Gualtieri announced Thursday.

For more than three decades Taviani and his brother Vittorio formed one of cinema's greatest directing duos. "Paolo Taviani, a great maestro of Italian cinema, left us", wrote Gualtieri in "X". The brothers "created unforgettable, deep, dedicated films that entered the collective imagination and the history of cinema", added Gualtieri.

According to media reports, Taviani died in a clinic in Rome after suffering from a short illness. His wife and two children were by his side as Taviani's funeral will take place on Monday.

Together with Vittorio, who died in 2018, the Taviani brothers made films based on political and social issues for more than half a century. Padre Padrone, a film developed in Sardinia, won the Palme d'Or at Cannes 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.

The former president of the Cannes Festival, Gilles Jacob, in a statement for AFP, said that Paolo Taviani was "one half of a fascinating duo".

After the death of his brother in 2018, Paolo Taviani premiered a film of his own. Leonora Addio, which premiered at the 2022 Berlinale Film Festival, explores death and the legacy of creative endeavor and was based on an idea that was born from the two brothers.

"Despite Vittorio's death, he is still with me," Taviani told AFP at the time.

He described how the brothers were inspired by the master of neorealism, the Italian director Roberto Rossellini. "When we decided to make films, Vittorio was 18 years old and I was 16. And it happened because we saw 'Paisan' by Rossellini," said Taviani. "We realized that if movies can change lives and can reveal us, our truth, then we wanted to make movies all our lives," he said.

Jacob has said that Paolo and Vittorio were "Rosselli's heirs", adding that "...a kind of grace touched their films with moral rigor and inimitable poetry". "Padre Padrone" and the 1982 war drama "Starry Night" were marvels of power and delicacy, Jacob added. Another critically acclaimed film by the duo is 2012's Caesar Must Die, which won the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival.

Taviani was born in 1931 in San Miniato, Tuscany. The brothers' father was an anti-fascist lawyer and they had an early interest in social issues, which they translated to the screen in works known for their blend of history, psychological analysis and lyricism.

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

Taken from "Agence France Presse". Translated by: Enis Bytyqi