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PEOPLE Italy

Carlo Lizzani, famous 20th century narrator, commits suicide

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- He was 91. A director, screenwriter and cinema critic, he also directed the Venice Film Festival from 1979 to 1982

Carlo Lizzani, famous 20th century narrator, commits suicide

Carlo Lizzani committed suicide by throwing himself from the third floor of his house in Rome on Saturday. He was 91. He left a note for his children saying he was “pulling the plug.” According to neighbours’ testimonies, he had seemed a bit depressed of late, perhaps also because of his wife Edith Bieber’s critical health conditions. Bieber and Lizzani met on the set of Germany, Year Zero by Roberto Rossellini in 1948. He was assisting the director. His death is a reminder of Mario Monicelli’s passing, on November 29, 2010.  

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“The tragic news of Carlo Lizzani’s death is profoundly upsetting to me,” Italian President Giorgio Napolitano wrote in a note, “because of the friendship I had developed with him over a number of decades and for all he was able to give to cinema, to culture and to the democratic development of our country.”

A director, screenwriter and cinema critic, Lizzani had his directing debut in 1950 with Nel Mezzogiorno qualcosa è cambiato, after which he made Attention! Bandits! in 1951. Among his most famous titles: Chronicle of Poor Lovers, based on the book by the same title by Vasco Pratolini in 1954, Il processo di Verona in 1963, The Violent Four in 1968, The Last 4 Days in 1974, The Teenage Prostitution Racket in 1975, San Babila: 8pm in 1976, Fontamara based on the book by the same name by Ignazio Silone in 1977, Mamma Ebe in 1985, Caro Gorbaciov in 1988 and Celluloid in 1995. His last film was Hotel Meina in 2007.

From 1979 to 1982, Lizzani directed the Venice Film Festival. In 1998, he published a collection of his written works called Attraverso il Novecento with an autobiography following in 2007 called Il mio lungo viaggio nel secolo breve.

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(Translated from Italian)

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