Pirro, Ugo

(1920-2008)
   Journalist, novelist, playwright, screen-writer. A respected and socially committed writer who continued to alternate between literature and cinema throughout his career, Pirro began in films with a collaboration on the story and screenplay of Carlo Lizzani's Achtung! Banditi! (Attention! Bandits! 1951). He subsequently worked extensively with Lizzani, writing or cowriting six more films for him, including Il gobbo (The Hunchback of Rome, 1960), Ilprocesso di Verona (The Verona Trial, 1963), and Celluloide (Celluloid, 1996), which he adapted from his own novel of the same name. At the same time he also worked with a host of other leading Italian directors, among them Antonio Pietrangeli, Giuseppe De Santis, Luciano Emmer, Mauro Bolognini, Gillo Pontecorvo, and Luigi Comencini. With his screenplay for A ciascuno il suo (We Still Kill the Old Way, 1967) he initiated a strong professional partnership with Elio Petri, for whom he wrote several more key films, including Indagine su un cittadino al di sopra di ogni sospetto (Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion, 1970), which was awarded the Nastro d'argento for best story as well as an Oscar nomination for best screenplay. In 1972 he received a second Oscar nomination for his work on the screenplay of Vittorio De Sica's Il giardino dei Finzi-Contini (The Garden of the Finzi-Continis, 1970).
   He also worked with directors outside Italy, adapting his own novel Jovanka e le altre for Martin Ritt's 5 Branded Women (1960) and helping to write Veljko Bulajic's epic war movie Bitka na Neretvi (The Battle of the River Neretva, 1969). After publishing the screenwriting manual Per scrivere un film in 1982, he gradually reduced his involvement in films in order to pursue his literary activities and in the late 1980s worked more regularly for television. He returned to writing for the big screen with his screenplay for Alessandro De Robilant's Il giudice ragazzino (The Boy Judge, 1994), a film about the young judge Rosario Livatino, murdered by the Sicilian Mafia in 1990.
   In 2004, in recognition of his contribution to Italian cinema, Pirro was presented with the Vittorio De Sica Prize by the president of the Italian Republic.
   Historical Dictionary of Italian Cinema by Alberto Mira

Guide to cinema. . 2011.

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