Sunday, June 08, 2008

RIP: Dino Risi, master of the Italian comedy

Dino Risi, master of the so-called "Italian comedy", died on Saturday June 7. Il maestro came to the spotlight with films such as "Il sorpresa/The Easy Life" and the original "Profuma di donna/Scent of a Woman", now better known as a remake starring Al Pacino.

I attended a special retrospective of his work in Brussels a few years back, and was struck by a number of things. All his films have the most amazingly brazen characters, which might also be due to the fact that he also worked with the most amazing actors such as Vittorio Gassman, Alberto Sordi and Ugo Tognazzi. His best films are also very clearly collaborative. You can feel the teamwork behind his minor masterpiece "I mostri/The Monsters", which would probably be more accurately translated as "Bastards". I asked at the time, "Who could possibly do movies like this these days?" The question still stands.

As a writer, I ask myself: which came first, the ferociously satirical scripts or the opportunity to create films with ferociously satirical actors?

Risi had some 50 films to his credit, and had a strong influence of post-war Italian cinema. He is the father of prolific director Marco Risi and received a Golden Lion at the Venice festival six years ago.

Salute, maestro.

Dino Risi on Amazon US
Dino Risi on Amazon UK

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