The University of Southern California School of Cinematic Art has paid a weekend long tribute to Hollywood icon Dino De Laurentiis.
It has been a real three days long film festival starting with screenings of Barbarella and moving through the finest films of the Italian producer. Movies ranging from his early neorealist masterpieces, Bitter Rice (Riso Amaro) and The Great War (La Grande Guerra) to big-budget spectaculars like King Kong and Conan the Barbarian, from Serpico to Davd Lynch controversial masterpiece Blue Velvet.
The week-end culminated with the installation of the Dino & Martha De Laurentiis Endowed Professorship and a panel discussion featuring Martha De Laurentiis, Dino’s and Silvana Mangano’s daughter Raffaella De Laurentiis, film directors like Micheal Mann and Jonathan Mostow and “cherry on the cake” Conan the Barbarian himself, the former Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The whole event was a bit too unconditionally celebratory but I think it was easily imaginable. What came out from the passionating discussion was the animal instinct of this man for films, his great love for every facet of the filmmaking process – he built film studios in four different continents – and his character, the famous 3 C’s he said a man should always have: Cuore, Cervello e Coglioni.
Raffaella mentioned his unconditional love for Federico Fellini, his favourite Director ever, with whom he won two consecutive Oscars in 1957 and 1958 with “La Strada” and “Le Notti di Cabiria“.
It was hilarious the anecdote told by Schwarzenegger about his peculiar way to reduce the budget of those movies he judged too expensive, by simply ripping some pages out of the original script.
As a good Italian, food was the other big passion of his life. On the very day of his death at the age of 91, he had had a full day of meetings: one for rebooting his favorite character Barbarella, and the other to open Italian restaurants in China.
So, this was the story of the man from Torre Annunziata who grew up selling spaghetti produced by his father and ended up leaving his mark on more than 600 films. All made with cervello, cuore e coglioni.