Pontecorvo, Gillo

   Director. One of Italy's most politically committed filmmakers, Pontecorvo was born into a large and wealthy Jewish family in Pisa. He began studying chemistry at the local university but, following the proclamation of race laws in 1938, he went to Paris, where he took up journalism and cultivated an interest in photography. In 1941, having become a member of the Italian Communist Party (PCI), he returned to Italy to join the Resistance movement in northern Italy where, from 1943 to 1945, he was a commander in the Garibaldi brigade.
   After the war he continued to work as an organizer and journalist for the PCI, but a viewing of Roberto Rossellini's Paisa (Paisan, 1946) inspired him to take up cinema as a tool for political and social change. His first film experience was as third assistant and supporting actor in Aldo Vergano's film on the Partisan movement, Il sole sorge ancora (Outcry, 1946). Having acquired his own camera in the early 1950s, he began making documentaries while continuing to work as assistant director for Yves Allegret and Mario Monicelli. In 1955 he initiated what would be a long and fruitful collaboration with Marxist screenwriter Franco Solinas, and together they made "Giovanna," the Italian segment of Die Windrose (Rose of the Winds, 1955), a five-episode international film exploring the position of women in postwar European society, coordinated by Dutch political filmmaker Joris Ivens. Continuing his partnership with Franco Solinas, in 1957 Pontecorvo made his first feature, La grande strada azzura (The Wide Blue Road), a French-Italian-German coproduction that starred Yves Montand and Alida Valli in an adaptation of Solinas's own novel, Squarcid. The story of a poor fisherman who refuses to join a cooperative but is eventually killed by his own unorthodox fishing methods, the film attempts to articulate serious sociopolitical themes but also often sinks into melodrama. (Mildly received at the time, it has been reissued in a restored print on DVD, thanks to the efforts of American filmmaker Jonathan Demme and actor Dustin Hoffman.) In 1959, again in collaboration with Solinas, Pontecorvo made Kapd, an Italo-French-Yugoslav production that tells the story of a Jewish girl in the Treblinka death camp forced to become an accomplice of the German guards. A very effective portrayal of the moral dilemma engendered by desperate circumstances, the film is, however, marred, as both Pontecorvo and Solinas themselves later admitted, by the unnecessary inclusion of a love interest at the end. Then followed what is generally regarded as Pontecorvo's greatest film and an undisputed masterwork, La battaglia di Algeri (The Battle of Algiers, 1966). Filmed on location with nonprofessional actors in a harsh black and white that has all the look of an actual newsreel, the film was a stunningly realistic and largely unbiaised portrayal of the last stages of the Algerian liberation struggle. It received immediate worldwide acclaim, being nominated for the Academy Awards for Best Foreign Film and Best Screenplay, and winning the Golden Lion at Venice and a Nastro d'argento. In France, however, it was regarded as too controversial, and not screened publicly until 1971. Pontecorvo (and Solinas) continued to explore the anticolonial theme in Queimada (Burn! 1969), which starred Marlon Brando and included a stirring soundtrack by Ennio Morricone. It was not until a decade later that Pontecorvo directed Operazione Ogro (The Tunnel, 1980), a film set in Spain and dealing with the assassination of the right-wing Spanish prime minister, Luis Carrero Blanco, by the Basque terrorist group ETA.
   Pontecorvo's subsequent cinematic production consisted mostly of shorts and documentaries, among which his Ritorno ad Algeri (Return to Algiers, 1992), a documentary feature commissioned by the Italian RAI television network that allowed him to revisit the country whose struggle for liberation he had documented almost 30 years earlier. It was, he concluded, a very changed country. Pontecorvo's strongest contribution to Italian cinema in subsequent years was his active guidance of the Venice Festival in the 1990s.
   Historical Dictionary of Italian Cinema by Alberto Mira

Guide to cinema. . 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Pontecorvo, Gillo — • ПОНТЕКО РВО (Pontecorvo) Джилло (р. 19.11.1919)    итал. режиссёр. Дебютировал в 1955 новеллой Джованна (в ф. Роза ветров , реж. Й. Ивенс, А. Кавалканти), в к рой участвовали непроф. исполнители. В 1957 пост. ф. Большая голубая дорога (по… …   Кино: Энциклопедический словарь

  • Pontecorvo, Gillo — (1919 2006)    Director. One of Italy s most politically committed filmmakers, Pontecorvo was born into a large and wealthy Jewish family in Pisa. He began studying chemistry at the local university but, following the proclamation of race laws in …   Historical dictionary of Italian cinema

  • Pontecorvo, Gillo — ▪ 2007 Gilberto Pontecorvo        Italian filmmaker (b. Nov. 19, 1919, Pisa, Italy d. Oct. 12, 2006, Rome, Italy), gained international acclaim for La battaglia di Algeri (1966; The Battle of Algiers), a stark black and white feature in which he… …   Universalium

  • Pontecorvo, Gillo — pseud. di Pontecorvo, Gilberto …   Sinonimi e Contrari. Terza edizione

  • Gillo Pontecorvo — (November 19 1919 ndash; October 12 2006) was an Italian filmmaker, best known for La battaglia di Algeri ( The Battle of Algiers ) although he directed several movies before its release in 1966, such as the drama Kapò (1960), which takes place… …   Wikipedia

  • Gillo Pontecorvo — Données clés Naissance 19 novembre 1919 Pise (Italie) Nationalité Italienne Décès 12 octobre …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Gillo Pontecorvo — Gillo Pontecorvo, eigentlich Gilberto Pontecorvo (* 19. November 1919 in Pisa; † 12. Oktober 2006 in Rom), war ein italienischer Filmregisseur. Gilberto Pontecorvo, dessen Brüder Bruno Pontecorvo und Guido Pontecorvo renommierte… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Pontecorvo (disambiguation) — Pontecorvo may refer to:;Places * Pontecorvo (or Ponte Corvo ), a town in Italy * The duchy of Pontecorvo, one of the papal states;Last names * Bruno Pontecorvo, an Italian physicist * Eugene Pontecorvo, a fictional character on the HBO series,… …   Wikipedia

  • Pontecorvo (Begriffsklärung) — Pontecorvo (auch Ponte Corvo) ist der Name folgender Orte: Pontecorvo, Stadt im Latium Ponte Corvo (Brücke), römische Brücke in Padua Fürst von Ponte Corvo ist ein Titel aus der napoleonischen Zeit. Bekannte Träger sind: Jean Baptiste Jules… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Gillo Pontecorvo — (Pisa, 19 de noviembre de 1919 Roma, 12 de octubre de 2006) fue un director de cine italiano, célebre fundamentalmente por su película La battaglia di Algeri (La batalla de Argel). De origen judío, estuvo comprometido con la causa antifascista… …   Wikipedia Español

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.