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ETTORE SCOLA

Italy

Born: Trevico, Italy, 10 May 1931.


Following law studies at the University of Rome, he began his working career as a writer for humour magazines. Entering the film industry as a screenwriter in 1953, he contributed bright material to films of Dino Risi and other directors, often in collaboration with Ruggero Maccari. As a director from 1964, he started with traditional Italian-style comedies but increasingly his films took on a serious edge, revealing a maturing social concern and a growing search for a meaningful dramatic context. His We All Loved Each Other So Much (1974), dedicated to Vittorio De Sica, wistfully captured the essence of 30 years of postwar Italian cinema through the three friends, veterans of the Resistance. Scola won the best direction prize at Cannes for Brutti, sporchi e Cattivi / Down and Dirty (1976), a vivid portrait of misery. His A Special Day (1977) - a politically based allegorical depiction of a brief liaison between a jaded housewife (Sophia Loren) and a homosexual radio journalist (Marcello Mastroianni) under the gathering clouds of WWII - was nominated for an Oscar for best foreign language film. Perhaps his most ambitious film was La Nuit de Varennes (1982), a masterful, fanciful, visually striking, idea-rich costume epic of the French Revolution. History, politics, and people, and the effect they have on one another, continue to be a core theme in the films of Scola, one of the most highly regarded figures in European cinema today.

Ephraim Katz, The Film Encylopedia



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