Volonte, Gian Maria

(1933-1994)
   Actor. One of the most accomplished and distinctive actors in Italy in the postwar period, Volonte was also the foremost representative of a cinema of political commitment and social denunciation. Having graduated from the National Academy of Dramatic Art in 1957, Volonte soon began to draw attention for the intensity of his acting, both in classics on the stage and on television, where he came to particular notice in a much-praised production of Fyodor Dostoyevsky's The Idiot. His film career began in a minor key with a small part in Duilio Coletti's war drama, Sotto dieci bandiere (Under Ten Flags, 1961), and an appearance as the King of Sparta in Vittorio Cottafavi's peplum Ercole alla conquista di Atlantide (Hercules and the Conquest of Atlantis, 1961). His participation in genre cinema continued with the villains he played in two of Sergio Leone's Westerns, Per un pugno di dollari (A Fistful of Dollars, 1964) and Per qualche dollaro inpiu (For a Few Dollars More, 1965), and the part of El Chuco in Damiano Damiani's Quien sabe? (A Bullet for the General, 1967). At the same time, his appearance as Salvatore, the union activist who dares to challenge the power of the Mafia in Paolo and Vittorio Taviani's Un uomo da bruciare (A Man for Burning, 1962), had opened the way to what would be a long line of much more socially conscious and politically committed roles, particularly in the films of Elio Petri and Francesco Rosi. His interpretation of Paolo Laurana in A ciascuno il suo (We Still Kill the Old Way, 1967), Petri's adaptation of Leonardo Sciascia's novel about politics and the Mafia in contemporary Sicily, earned Volonte both a Nastro d'argento in Italy and a nomination for the Palme d'or at Cannes. After appearing as Lieutenant Ottolenghi in Uomini contro (Many Wars Ago, 1970), the first of many films he would make with Rosi, which would include Il caso Mattei (The Mattei Affair, 1972), Lucky Luciano (1973), and Cristo si e fermato a Eboli (Christ Stopped at Eboli, 1979), he provided what remains perhaps his most stunning and engaging performance in Petri's Indagine su un cittadino al di sopra di ogni sospetto (Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion, 1970), which brought him his second Nastro d'argento and a David di Donatello.
   Highly respected internationally, Volonte was also called to work with a number of non-Italian directors, including Jean-Luc Godard on Le vent d'est (Wind from the East, 1970), Andre Delvaux on his adaptation of Marguerite Yourcenar's novel, L'oeuvre au noir (The Abyss, 1988), and Swiss director Bernard Fontana on La mort de Mario Ricci (The Death of Mario Ricci, 1983) in an intepretation that was widely praised and for which he received the Best Actor award at Cannes. In 1991 his three decades of achievement were recognized with a career Golden Lion at the Venice Festival. After an extraordinarily thoughtful performance as Judge Vito Di Francesco in Gianni Amelio's Porte aperte (Open Doors, 1990), for which he received both another David and the Special Prize of the Jury at the European Film Awards, Volonte died suddenly of a heart attack while filming Theodoros Angelopoulos's Ulysses'Gaze (1995).
   Historical Dictionary of Italian Cinema by Alberto Mira

Guide to cinema. . 2011.

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  • Volonte, Gian Maria — ▪ 1995       Italian actor (b. April 9, 1933, Milan, Italy d. Dec. 6, 1994, Florina, Greece), epitomized, with his chiseled features, hooded eyes, and scowling demeanour, the classic tough guy in such films as Sergio Leone s A Fistful of Dollars… …   Universalium

  • Volonte, Gian Maria — (1933 1994)    Actor. One of the most accomplished and distinctive actors in Italy in the postwar period, Volonte was also the foremost representative of a cinema of political commitment and social denunciation. Having graduated from the National …   Historical dictionary of Italian cinema

  • Gian Maria Volonte — Gian Maria Volontè Gian Maria Volontè (* 9. April 1933 in Mailand, Italien; † 6. Dezember 1994 in Florina, Griechenland) war ein italienischer Schauspieler. Bekannt wurde er durch die Rolle des Gegenspielers von Clint Eastwood in …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Gian-Maria Volontè — Gian Maria Volontè Naissance 9 avril 1933 Milan, Italie …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Gian Maria Volonte — Gian Maria Volontè Gian Maria Volontè Gian Maria Volontè Naissance 9 avril 1933 Milan, Italie …   Wikipédia en Français

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  • Gian Maria Volontè — (* 9. April 1933 in Mailand, Italien; † 6. Dezember 1994 in Florina, Griechenland) war ein italienischer Schauspieler. Leben Volontè absolvierte ein …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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  • Gian Maria Volontè — Infobox actor bgcolour = silver name = Gian Maria Volontè imagesize = caption = Gian Maria Volontè in his later years birthdate = April 9 1933 location = Italy height = deathdate = December 6 1994 deathplace = birthname = othername = homepage =… …   Wikipedia

  • Volonte — Gian Maria Volontè Gian Maria Volontè (* 9. April 1933 in Mailand, Italien; † 6. Dezember 1994 in Florina, Griechenland) war ein italienischer Schauspieler. Bekannt wurde er durch die Rolle des Gegenspielers von Clint Eastwood in …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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