Virzi, Paolo

(1964-)
   Director and screenwriter. One of the most interesting young directors to emerge as part of the New Italian Cinema, Virzi graduated from the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia, where he specialized in screenwriting. After collaborating on the screenplays of Giuliano Montaldo's Tempo di uccidere (Time to Kill, 1989) and Gabriele Salvatores's Turne (Tour, 1990), he made his own directorial debut with La bella vita (Living It Up, 1994), an ironic portrait of working-class life in provincial Italy that earned him both the David di Donatello and the Nastro d'argento for Best New Director. His second feature, Ferie d'agosto (Summer Holidays, 1996), a caustic social comedy in the best tradition of the commedia all'italiana, received similar acclaim and was awarded that year's David for Best Film. A year later the heartwarming working-class, coming-of-age tale Ovosodo (Hardboiled Egg, 1997) was both a commercial and critical success and won the Special Grand Jury Prize at the Venice Festival. There followed Baci e abbracci (Kisses and Hugs, 1999), a quirky story revolving around the attempt by three retrenched workers to establish their own ostrich farm in Tuscany, and My Name Is Tanino (2001), a bemused portrayal of the misadventures of a Sicilian boy attempting to follow his American dream. Virzi then scored his biggest national and international success with Caterina va in citta (Caterina in the Big City, 2003), a biting critique of contemporary Italian foibles carried out in the form of another coming-of-age movie. After also appearing in a small role in Nanni Moretti's Il caimano (The Caiman, 2006), Virzi directed N: Io e Napoleone (N.: Napoleon & Me, 2006), a historical costume drama that uses Napoleon's period of exile on the island of Elba as a way to reflect on contemporary Italian mores.
   Historical Dictionary of Italian Cinema by Alberto Mira

Guide to cinema. . 2011.

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