The award-winning Italian director and screenwriter Francesco Rosi passed away Saturday at the age of 92. Rosi was one of the most important representatives of European post-war cinema.
"The loss of Francesco Rosi is the loss of an outstanding filmmaker. With their explosive power, Rosi’s films are still persuasive today. His works are classics of politically engaged cinema," comments Berlinale Director Dieter Kosslick.
In his works, Rosi reflected critically on political, economic and intellectual developments in Italy, often triggering intense public reactions.
Rosi first found his own personal style and established himself internationally with Salvatore Giuliano (1961/62). The film won the Silver Bear for Best Director at the Berlinale in 1962. The Berlinale dedicated its 2008 Homage to Francesco Rosi, showing 13 of his films and honouring him with the Honorary Golden Bear for his life achievements.
In Salvatore Giuliano, Il caso Mattei (The Mattei Affair, 1971/72, which won the Palme d'Or in Cannes) and Lucky Luciano (1972/73), he explored how economic and political power structures were intertwined with the Mafia. He exposed hushed-up building scandals in his hometown of Naples in Le mani sulla città (Hands Over the City, 1963), which won the Golden Lion in Venice. In the late 1970s, Francesco Rosi broke new ground, both aesthetically and thematically. In Cristo si è fermato a Eboli (Christ Stopped at Eboli, 1978/79) and Tre fratelli (Three Brothers, 1980/81), Rosi turned his attention to the inner lives of his characters.
In memory of Francesco Rosi, the 65th Berlin International Film Festival will present Uomini Contro (Many Wars Ago, 1970) in the upcoming programme. Rosi's anti-war drama takes place on the mountainous Austrian-Italian front during World War I.
January 13, 2015