Ciao Tonino

« Non è vero che uno più uno fa sempre due; una goccia più una goccia fa una goccia più grande.” – (It is not true that one and one is always two; one drop and one drop they make a bigger drop) TG

A poet died two days ago, his name was Tonino Guerra from Santarcangelo di Romagna, a small city on the hills behind Rimini. He expressed his art non only on paper – he wrote many beautiful books in Italian and in “Romagnolo”, his dialect – but also and actually even more by participating in the making of some of the finest masterpieces of the history of the cinematography. He worked with his friend and mate Federico Fellini and the result was the absolute beauty of “Amarcord“. Directors like Antonioni, Anghelopoulos (he also died tragically this year), Paolo and Vittorio Taviani, Elio Petri, Tarkowskij, Rosi, Vittorio De Sica were able to make some of their best films out of Tonino’s screenwriting. He was the son of a fisherman father and an illiterate mother whom he later taught to read and write. He had been in a German lager during the last World War and had a profound love for Russia.

The American press – in particular the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times – reported the news extensively and emotionally. The LA newspaper said that he was an internationally renowned Italian screenwriter who collaborated with Federico Fellini, Michelangelo Antonioni  and other greats of Italian and world cinema on films such as Fellini’s “Amarcord” and Antonioni’s “L’Avventura” and “Blow-Up”. “I think he’s one of the greatest writers of our time whose medium happens to be the screenplay,” said Howard A. Rodman, vice president of the Writers Guild of America  and a professor at the School of Cinematic Arts at USC. And he added “When you think of European modernist cinema, the cinema that changed the way we think of movies, that inspired the glories of American cinema of the 1970s and cinema around the world, it’s astonishing how many of those films were written by Tonino Guerra.

The NYT stresses that “in a screenwriting career covering a half-century, Mr. Guerra earned three Academy Award nominations with “Casanova ’70,” “Blow-Up”and “Amarcord” and had a long partnership with Fellini and Antonioni.” It is also remembered that “Angelopoulos likened Mr. Guerra to a devil’s advocate and a psychoanalyst. But the most tangible record of Mr. Guerra’s collaborative role can be found in “Voyage in Time,” which chronicles his travels through Italy with Tarkovskyij, scouting landscapes and exchanging thoughts on life and cinema, as the screenplay for “Nostalghia” took shape in their heads.”

Guerra also said “death isn’t that awful. After all, it comes only once.”

Ciao Tonino.

 L’aria l’e cla roba lizira / che sta dalonda la tu testa / e la dventa piò céra quand che t’roid (L’aria è quella cosa leggera / che sta intorno alla tua testa / e diventa più chiara quando ridi). “THE AIR IS THAT LIGHT ESSENCE AROUND YOUR HEAD AND IT BECOMES CLEARER WHEN YOU LAUGH”

 

 

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