Gillo Pontecorvo

Director, Screenwriter, Composer
A leftist filmmaker, Gillo Pontecorvo worked as a foreign correspondent in Paris, as an assistant to Yves Allegret, and a documentarian before gaining attention with the Academy Award nominated, grim concentration camp ... Read more »
Born: 11/18/1919 in Pisa, IT

Filmography

Director (6)

The Wide Blue Road 2001 (Movie)

(Director)

Another World is Possible 2000 (Movie)

(Director)

Ogro 1978 (Movie)

(Director)

Burn! 1969 (Movie)

(Director)

The Battle of Algiers 1967 (Movie)

(Director)

Kapo 1964 (Movie)

(Director)
Music (4)

Miral 2011 (Movie)

("Pace Apparente") (Song)

Inglourious Basterds 2009 (Movie)

("Algeri: 1 Novembre 1954" (Battle Of Algiers)) (Song Performer)

Inglourious Basterds 2009 (Movie)

("Algeri: 1 Novembre 1954" (Battle Of Algiers)) (Song)

The Battle of Algiers 1967 (Movie)

(Music)
Writer (4)

Ogro 1978 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Burn! 1969 (Movie)

(From Story)

The Battle of Algiers 1967 (Movie)

(Story By)

Kapo 1964 (Movie)

(Screenplay)
Actor (1)

The Stupids 1996 (Movie)

Talk Show Guest No 1 (Actor)

Biography

A leftist filmmaker, Gillo Pontecorvo worked as a foreign correspondent in Paris, as an assistant to Yves Allegret, and a documentarian before gaining attention with the Academy Award nominated, grim concentration camp melodrama "Kapo" (1960).

His most evocative and perhaps best-known film remains "The Battle of Algiers" (1966), a gripping account of the 1954 Algerian rebellion against French rule. A landmark political drama, "The Battle of Algiers" was shot in a grainy, neo-documentary style and featured non-professional actors, and won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival as well as receiving a Best Foreign-Language Oscar nomination. When it was widely released in the USA in 1969, Pontecorvo netted dual Academy Award nods for his direction and as co-author of its original screenplay. Over time, though, and through its championing by director Jonathan Demme, Pontecorvo's first fictional work, "The Wide Blue Road/La Grande Strada Azzurra" (1957) has undergone re-evaluation and is now considered a forerunner of the New Wave, especially in its social and political themes. That film received its belated US premiere in 2001.

Pontecorvo's only subsequent feature of note was "Burn!/Queimada!" (1969), another critique of colonialism set in 19th-century Antilles. Perhaps because of its upscale production values and star cast--which included Marlon Brando--the film lacked the edge of Pontecorvo's earlier work. He made a one-shot return to features a decade later with "Ogro/Operation Ogre" (1979) and continued to create shorts into the 1990s.

Relationships

Bruno Pontecorvo

Brother

EDUCATION

studied music in France

received degree in chemistry

Milestones

1997

Directed two short films

1992

Replaced Guglielmo Biraghi as head of the Venice Film Festival

1979

Made one-shot return to feature films with "Ogro/Operation Ogre"

1968

Directed "Burn!", starring Marlon Brando ; last feature for a decade

1966

Helmed best-known film, "The Battle of Algiers", which depicted the 1954 Algerian uprising; earned a Best Foreign Language Academy Award nomination in 1967; two years later received Best Director and Best Original Screenplay Oscar nominations

1960

Garnered international attention for the concentration camp drama "Kapo"

1957

Wrote and directed first fictional film, "La Grande Stada Azzura/The Wide Blue Road", featuring Yves Montand; film released theatrically in USA for first time in 2001

1953

Directed first documentary, "Missione Timiriazev"

Born and raised in Pisa, Italy

In the 1930s, fled the anti-Semitism of his homeland and settled in France

After WWII, returned to Italy

Worked as a journalist

Bonus Trivia

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On his first fictional film, "The Wide Blue Road/La Grande Strada Azzura" (released for the first time in the USA in 2001), Pontecorvo was quoted by The New York Times (June 3, 2001): "I was so sad that it didn't turn out the way I wanted. I wanted to shoot it in black and white, and I felt Alida [Valli] was too exquisite to play the wife of a fisherman, and I felt it had too much melodrama. But [Roberto] Rossellini told me: 'Don't be stupid! This is only your first film. It's not that bad. There will be more.'"

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