Ferreri, Marco

(1928-1997)
   Milanese filmmaker Marco Ferreri started his career as a director in the Spanish film industry, with three films that had a strong impact on young directors, and which are seen as an adaptation of the neorealist perspective to Spanish cinema. While studying to be a veterinarian, he was seduced by film and started work on a series of advertisements and documentary work for newsreels. His first credit was as a scriptwriter for the Dino Risi segment in L'amore in cittá (Love in the City, 1953), a collective effort that also featured short films directed by Federico Fellini, Michelangelo Antonioni, and Cesare Zavattini. He moved to Madrid in 1956, to work as a commercial representative for photo lenses.
   The three films he directed in Spain between 1958 and 1960 earned him a place of privilege in the history of Spanish cinema. Los chicos (The Kids, 1959) was among the purest translations of neorealism.
   The film followed a group of young children in the outskirts of town, using nonprofessional actors and real-life locations. Although not completely unheard of in Spanish cinema, this method had seldom been used so consistently, and, neorealism being a politically sensitive topic, it had a polarized response at the Semana de Valladolid. The other two films were written in collaboration with Rafael Azcona and are among the undisputed masterpieces of the period. Both El pisito (The Little Flat, 1958) and El cochecito (The Motorized Wheelchair, 1960) are bitter satires with a Kafkian edge, starring individuals trapped by their dreams until they turn into nightmares.
   In El pisito (the first film for which Azcona took writing credit), José Luis López Vázquez was forced to marry his elderly landlady in order to become the proprietor of her flat when she dies. But things get complicated when she turns out to be healthier than expected. In El cochecito, Pepe Isbert plays an old man so obsessed by the idea of possessing a motorized wheelchair that he considers murdering his whole family to steal the money, in spite of the fact that he is reasonably healthy and has no trouble with his legs. The Ferreri-Azcona collaborations held up a mirror to the darker aspects of Spanish society, and this made for uncomfortable viewing for those who considered themselves responsible for the situation. When Ferreri's work permit came up for renewal, the authorities rejected it and, after a series of frustrated projects (including a version, scripted by Mario Camus, of the life of national hero El Cid and an adaptation of Franz Kafka's The Castle), he decided to return to Italy in 1961.
   He continued working, and his oeuvre (often in collaboration with Azcona, who wrote or co-wrote about a dozen scripts for him) became one of the most personal of the next 15 years. In an interview in 1977, he said: "The values that once existed no longer exist. The family, the bourgeoisie—I'm talking about values, morals, economic relationships. They no longer serve a purpose. My films are reactions translated into images.'' This accounts for the anarchism that becomes increasingly more prominent in the 1970s. La grand bouffe (The Big Meal, 1973) was something of a comic prelude to Pier Paolo Pasolini's later Saló, presenting social crisis in terms of an orgy. A series of films in that decade focused on the crisis of masculinity: Touche pas à la femme blanche (Don't Touch the White Woman, 1974), Le dernière femme (The Last Woman, 1976), Ciao Maschio (Bye Bye Monkey, 1978), and Storie di ordinaria follia (Tales of Ordinary Madness, 1981).
   Historical Dictionary of Spanish Cinema by Alberto Mira
   ***
   Actor, producer, and director. One of the most iconoclastic directors of Italian postwar cinema, Ferreri began his film career in the early 1950s by collaborating on the production of current affairs documentaries. After acting as executive producer for Cesare Zavattini'scompilation film, L'amore in citta (Love in the City, 1953), Ferreri moved to Spain, where he began his long association with writer Rafael Azcona, making three films that anticipated the anarchistic black humor of his major films to follow, Elpisito (The Apartment, 1958), Los Chicos (The Boys, 1959), and El cochechito (The Little Coach, 1960), the last being nominated for the Golden Lion at the Venice Festival that year.
   Returning to Italy in 1961, Ferreri contributed a short episode to the Zavattini-inspired compilation film, Le italiane e I'amore (Latin Lovers, 1961), before making L'ape regina (The Conjugal Bed, 1963), a caustic satire on sex and marriage that immediately drew the ire of the censors, who forced changes on the film, including its title. Similar hostility from the censors greeted La donna scimmia (The Ape Woman, 1964), although this did not prevent it from being nominated for the Palme d'or at Cannes and winning a Nastro d'argento for Best Original Story. After Ilprofessore (The Professor), one of the episodes of Controsesso (Countersex, 1964), and the four-part Marcia nuziale (Wedding March, 1965), another satire on modern Italian male-female relations, Ferreri ironically reversed the traditional male-female positions in L'harem (The Harem, 1967), where the harem is made up of men. This provocative take on the gender wars was followed by the sardonic Dillinger e morto (Dillinger Is Dead, 1969), the apocalyptic Il seme dell'uomo (The Seed of Man, 1969), L'udienza (The Audience, 1972), a Kafkaesque tale in which an audience with the pope is forever forestalled, and then the film for which he would become most renowned, La grande abbuffata (The Grande Bouffe, 1973). The story of four culinary libertines who commit collective suicide by eating themselves to death, the film caused enormous controversy, especially in France, but it was also nominated for the Golden Palm at Cannes and, in the event, received the International Federation of Film Critics prize.
   Continuing to play the agent provocateur, Ferreri made Non toccare la donna bianca (Don't Touch the White Woman, 1974), a burlesque revisitation of the Western genre that restaged Custer's Last Stand as a confrontation between the first and third worlds in the hollowed-out building site of Les Halles in Paris, before returning to the sex wars with L'ultima donna (The Last Woman, 1976) and the more surreal and apocalyptic Ciao Maschio (Bye Bye Monkey, 1978). The milder Chiedo asilo (Seeking Asylum, 1979), in which Roberto Benigni plays a lovable nursery-school teacher, was followed by an adaptation of Charles Bukowsky's semiautobiographical novel, Stone di ordinaria follia (Tales of Ordinary Madness, 1981), before Ferreri's taste for the absurd returned to the fore in I Love You (1986), a portrait of modern alienation presented through the story of a man's fetishistic sexual attachment to a talking keyring. The ironically titled Come sono buoni i bianchi (How Good the Whites Are, 1987) excoriated the well-meaning but ultimately self-serving stratagems of Western food aid to Africa while La casa del sorriso (The House of Smiles, 1991), a love story between an elderly couple set in an old people's home, was refused a screening at Venice but awarded the Golden Bear when shown at Berlin. After La carne (The Flesh, 1991), another excessive love story, this time involving priapism and anthropophagy, Fererri's final film, Nitrato d'argento (Nitrate Base, 1996), was an affectionate celebration of silent cinema.
   A competent actor as well as director, Ferreri appeared in Luigi Malerba's Donne e soldati (Women and Soldiers, 1954) and in Mario Monicelli's Casanova '70 (Casanova 70, 1965), and played Dr. Salamoia in Ugo Tognazzi's Il fischio al naso (The Seventh Floor, 1967), but he is probably best remembered as the sardonic Hans Guenther in Pier Paolo Pasolini's Porcile (Pigpen, 1969).
   Historical Dictionary of Italian Cinema by Alberto Mira

Guide to cinema. . 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Ferreri, Marco — (1928 1997)    Milanese filmmaker Marco Ferreri started his career as a director in the Spanish film industry, with three films that had a strong impact on young directors, and which are seen as an adaptation of the neorealist perspective to… …   Historical dictionary of Spanish cinema

  • Ferreri, Marco — (1928 1997)    Actor, producer, and director. One of the most iconoclastic directors of Italian postwar cinema, Ferreri began his film career in the early 1950s by collaborating on the production of current affairs documentaries. After acting as… …   Historical dictionary of Italian cinema

  • Ferreri, Marco — • ФЕРРЕ РИ (Ferreri) Марко (р. 11.5.1928)    итал. режиссёр. По образованию ветеринар. В 1951 с реж. Р. Гионе выпустил неск. номеров к/ж Документальный ежемесячник . В 1952 принимал участие в съёмках ф. реж. А. Лат туады Шинель (по Н. В. Гоголю) …   Кино: Энциклопедический словарь

  • Ferreri, Marco — ▪ 1998       Italian director whose bizarre, outrageous, and satiric motion pictures expressed his bleak and derisive view of society; in his best known film, La Grande Bouffe, 1973, a group of men purposely gorge themselves to death (b. May 11,… …   Universalium

  • Ferreri, Marco — ► (1928 97) Director cinematográfico italiano. Su profesión la ha desarrollado entre España y Francia. Películas: El pisito y El futuro es mujer, entre otras …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Ferreri — Ferreri, Marco …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Marco Ferreri — Born 11 May 1928(1928 05 11) Milan, Lombardy, Italy Died 9 May 1997 …   Wikipedia

  • Marco Ferreri — (11 de mayo de 1928 en Milán 9 de mayo de 1997 en París) fue un director de cine, actor y guionista italiano. Su película más conocida es La gran comilona …   Wikipedia Español

  • FERRERI (M.) — FERRERI MARCO (1928 1997) Né à Milan, Marco Ferreri entreprend des études de vétérinaire qu’il interrompra très vite. En fait, il les poursuit dans chacun de ses films, en ce sens qu’il s’intéresse à ce qu’il y a d’animal en l’homme. «J’ai voulu… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Marco Ferreri — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Ferreri. Marco Ferreri …   Wikipédia en Français

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