Fellini, Antonioni, Angelopoulos, Tavianis, Wenders screenwriter Tonino Guerra
April 9, 2012 Leave a comment
Legendary Italian screenwriter and poet Tonino Guerra, an Oscar nominee for Federico Fellini’s much-loved film Amarcord, died in his Apennine home town on March 21 a few days after turning 92. He wrote all Michelangelo Antonioni’s films, and worked with Angelopoulos, Rosi, Tavianis and Wenders.
Early tributes included that of Yuri Liubimov, the veteran patriarch of Soviet and Russian theatre, described his old friend and Russia lover as “an artist who came from the Renaissance era”. Film director Francesco Rosi, like Fellini an old friend, said he would miss “an inimitable friend and a truly, profoundly irreplaceable artist”.
Guerra worked with nearly all the great names of Italian cinema including Fellini, Antonioni, Rosi, Vittorio De Sica, Paolo and Vittorio Taviani, Mario Monicelli and Giuseppe Tornatore, as well as foreign directors such as Germany’s Wim Wenders, Greece’s Theo Angelopoulos and Russia’s Andrei Tarkovsky.
He is perhaps best known for Amarcord (1973), which won the 1975 Oscar for best foreign-language film and received two Oscar nominations, for best original screenplay and best director. The film, which centres around the lead character’s reminiscences of childhood in Rimini during the Fascist era, was co-penned by Guerra, who grew up in the nearby town of Santarcangelo di Romagna.
Guerra also helped Antonioni write one of his best-known films, the 1966 Oscar-nominated movie Blow-up, as well as collaborating on his 1970 film Zabriskie Point, both cult classics. Guerra’s other credits range from Antonioni’s groundbreaking l’Avventura (1960) to Angelopoulos’s 1998 Cannes winner Eternity and a Day.
A former elementary school teacher, Guerra started writing in his native Romagna dialect to keep up the spirits of fellow inmates of a German prison camp in the Second World War. He first broke through as a poet thanks to famous writer Elio Vittorini and the eminent critic Gianfranco Contini, before getting into films and meeting fellow Romagnan Antonioni, all of whose films he wrote except for Professione: Reporter.