Paolo and Vittorio Taviani

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The Taviani brothers
Taviani brothers Cannes 2015 (cropped, retouched).jpg
Vittorio (left) and Paolo Taviani, at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival
Occupation(s)Film directors, producers, screenwriters, film editors
Paolo Taviani
Born (1931-11-08) 8 November 1931 (age 91)
Years active1962–present
SpouseLina Nerli
Vittorio Taviani
Born(1929-09-20)20 September 1929
Died15 April 2018(2018-04-15) (aged 88)
Rome, Italy
Years active1962–2018

Paolo Taviani (Italian pronunciation: [ˈpaːolo taˈvjaːni]; born 8 November 1931) and Vittorio Taviani (Italian pronunciation: [vitˈtɔːrjo taˈvjaːni]; 20 September 1929 – 15 April 2018), collectively referred to as the Taviani brothers, were Italian film directors and screenwriters who collaborated on film productions.

At the Cannes Film Festival, the Taviani brothers won the Palme d'Or and the FIPRESCI prize for Padre Padrone in 1977 and the Grand Prix du Jury for La notte di San Lorenzo (The Night of the Shooting Stars, 1982). In 2012 they won the Golden Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival with Caesar Must Die.

Vittorio Taviani died on 15 April 2018 at the age of 88.[1]


Both born in San Miniato, Tuscany, Italy, the Taviani brothers began their careers as journalists. In 1960 they came to the world of cinema, directing with Joris Ivens the documentary L'Italia non è un paese povero (Italy is not a poor country). They went on to direct two films with Valentino Orsini, Un uomo da bruciare (A Man to Burn) (1962) and I fuorilegge del matrimonio (Outlaws of Marriage) (1963).

Their first autonomous film was I sovversivi (The Subversives, 1967), with which they anticipated the events of 1968. With actor Gian Maria Volonté they gained attention with Sotto il segno dello scorpione (Under the Sign of Scorpio, (1969) where one can see the echoes of Brecht, Pasolini, and Godard.

In 1971, they co-signed the media campaign against Milan's police commissioner Luigi Calabresi, published in the magazine L'espresso.

The revolutionary theme is present both in San Michele aveva un gallo (1971), an adaptation of Tolstoy's novel The Divine and the Human, a film greatly appreciated by critics, and in the film Allonsanfan (1974), in which Marcello Mastroianni has a role as an ex-revolutionary who has served a long term in prison and now views his idealistic youth in a much more realistic light, and nevertheless gets entangled in a new attempt in which he no longer believes.

Their next film Padre Padrone (1977) (Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival), taken from a novel by Gavino Ledda, speaks of the struggle of a Sardinian shepherd against the cruel rules of his patriarchal society. In Il prato (1979) there are nonrealistic echoes, while La notte di San Lorenzo (The Night of the Shooting Stars, 1982) narrates, in a fairy-tale tone, a marginal event in the days before the end of World War II, in Tuscany, as seen through the eyes of some village people. The film was awarded the Special Jury Award in Cannes.

Kaos (1984)—another literary adaptation—is a poignantly beautiful and poetical film in episodes, taken from Luigi Pirandello's Short Stories for a year. In Il sole anche di notte (1990) the Taviani brothers transposed in 18th century Naples the story from Tolstoy's Father Sergius.

Paolo Taviani and Vittorio Storaro

From then onwards, the Tavianis' inspiration proved faltering. Successes like Le affinità elettive, (1996, from Goethe) and an attempt to woo the international audiences like Good morning Babilonia, (1987), on the pioneers of cinema history, alternate with lesser films like Fiorile (1993) and Tu ridi (1996), inspired by the characters and short stories of Pirandello.

In the 2000s, the brothers turned successfully to directing television films and miniseries, such as Leo Tolstoy's Resurrection (2001) and Alexandre Dumas's Luisa Sanfelice (2004), as well as La masseria delle allodole (2007), presented at the Berlin Film Festival in the section 'Berlinale Special'.

Their film Caesar Must Die won the Golden Bear at the 62nd Berlin International Film Festival in February 2012.[2] The film was also selected as the Italian entry for the Best Foreign Language Oscar at the 85th Academy Awards, but it did not make the final shortlist.[3]

On 15 April 2018, Vittorio Taviani died in Rome after a long illness at the age of 88.[4][5]


As film directors[edit]

As screenwriters[edit]

  • San Miniato, luglio '44 (with Valentino Orsini and Cesare Zavattini, 1954)
  • Un uomo da bruciare (with Valentino Orsini, 1962)
  • I fuorilegge del matrimonio (with Lucio Battistrada, Giuliani G. De Negri, Renato Niccolai and Valentino Orsini, 1963)
  • I sovversivi (1967)
  • Sotto il segno dello scorpione (1969)
  • San Michele aveva un gallo (based on a story by Leo Tolstoy, 1972)
  • Allonsanfàn (1973)
  • Padre padrone (based on a book by Gavino Ledda, 1977)
  • Il prato (with Gianni Sbarra, 1979)
  • La notte di San Lorenzo (with Giuliani G. De Negri and Tonino Guerra, 1982)
  • Kaos (based on short stories by Luigi Pirandello, 1984)
  • Good Morning, Babylon (with Tonino Guerra, 1987)
  • Il sole anche di notte (with Tonino Guerra, based on Father Sergius by Tolstoy, 1990)
  • Fiorile (with Sandro Petraglia, 1993)
  • Le affinità elettive (based on Elective Affinities by Goethe, 1996)
  • Tu ridi (based on short stories by Pirandello, 1998)
  • Resurrezione (based on Resurrection by Tolstoy, 2001)
  • Luisa Sanfelice (based on La Sanfelice by Alexandre Dumas, père, 2004)
  • Una questione privata (based on A Private Matter by Beppe Fenoglio, 2017)


Paolo Taviani at the 72nd Berlin International Film Festival, 2022


  1. ^ Genzlinger, Neil (2018-04-18). "Vittorio Taviani, 88, Dies; Made Acclaimed Films With Brother". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-09-15.
  2. ^ "Jail docu-drama Caesar Must Die wins Berlin award". BBC News Online. 2012-02-19. Retrieved 2012-02-19.
  3. ^ "L'Italia candida agli Oscar il film dei fratelli Taviani". Gazzetta di Parma (in Italian). 26 September 2012. Archived from the original on 18 December 2012. Retrieved 26 September 2012.
  4. ^ "Italian film-maker Vittorio Taviani dies". BBC News Online. 16 April 2018. Retrieved 16 April 2018.
  5. ^ The Associated Press (15 April 2018). "Vittorio Taviani, of Italian Brother Directing Team, Dies". The New York Times. Retrieved 16 April 2018.
  6. ^ "24th Moscow International Film Festival (2002)". MIFF. Archived from the original on 2013-03-28. Retrieved 2013-03-31.

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