PAOLO and VITTORIO TAVIANI
Born: San Miniato, Italy, 8 November 1931.
Born: San Miniato, Italy, 20 September 1929.
The first films of the Taviani brothers were made with their long-standing friend, Valentino Orsini. Together they experimented in a documentary mode in an attempt to go beyond neo-realism while preserving certain realist imperatives. They succeeded with the intelligently constructed Un uomo da bruciare / A Man for Burning (1962), which retraces the life and death of a Sicilian trade unionist murdered by the Mafia, but rather less well with the incoherent I fuorilegge del matrimonio / Outlaws of Marriage (1953). The two brothers on their own then directed I sovversivi (1967), an ambitious attempt to combine several stories of personal or political crisis against the background of the funeral of Communist leader Palmiro Togliatti, and the cryptic Sotto il segno dello Scorpione / Under the Sign of Scorpio (1969), which initiated their characteristic cinema of utopia, eclectic in style but held together by a consistant Marxism. A sense of stylistic maturity emerged in San Michele aveva un gallo / St. Michael Had a Rooster (1971), an apologia for a latter-day anarchist. Then, after the grotesque Allonsanfan (1974), they made the harsh and sober Padre padrone / Father Master (1977), the story of an ultimately victorious struggle against oppressive patriarchal power, and the film which brought them to international attention. Another breaking point was the "peasant fresco" La notte di San Lorenzo / The Night of San Lorenzo (1982), which used a combination of reportage and fantasy, epic and elegy to depict the struggle against Fascism. Since then the Tavianis have distanced themselves somewhat from the political-existentialist tension of their earlier films, concentrating on the pleasures of story-telling and elegant mise-en-scène. Kaos (1984), a retelling of some Sicilian stories by Luigi Pirandello, is their most successful film in this vein.
— Gianni Volpi, Encylopedia of European Cinema
Internet Movie Database: Paolo Taviani
Internet Movie Database: Vittorio Taviani
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