Saturday 16 December 2017

Oscar-nominated director (95) leaps to his death

Debbie Montanga in Rome

THE gifted Italian Oscar-nominated director and screenwriter Mario Monicelli plunged to his death after jumping from a fifth-story hospital window of the hospital in which he was being treated.

Monicelli (95) was considered one of the fathers of the Italian comedy of the 1940s-1960s.

He was being treated at Rome's San Giovanni hospital for pancreatic problems and leaped to his death on Monday night, said Anna Scoltore, who heads the hospital's media office. She said he had been admitted a few days ago and that it appeared his condition was terminal.

His body, covered by a sheet, remained on the ground hours later as medical examiners and police investigated.

Monicelli worked with some of the biggest names of the "commedia all'Italiana," including Marcello Mastroianni, Toto and Alberto Sordi.

"He was my Fellini," fellow Tuscan director Giovanni Veronese told Sky TG24. "It's a terrible day."


Monicelli directed Mastroianni in the acclaimed 'Big Deal on Madonna Street' (1958) and his 'The Great War' picked up the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, which honoured him with a lifetime achievement award in 1991.

He was nominated for Oscar's best foreign language film for 'Casanova '70' of 1965 and 'I Compagni' of 1963.

Walter Veltroni, former mayor of Rome, said Monicelli's shocking death left a bitter taste for all.

"We feel profoundly and humanly hurt by his death, which we know is a loss that weighs and will continue to weigh heavily on us," he said in a statement.

In his final script of his own life, he chose a dramatic ending: plunging off the fifth-floor balcony of a Rome hospital.

Monicelli is being mourned as the last great master in a generation of Italian comic film directors who satirised society, along with Dino Risi and Pietro Germi.

"He will be remembered by millions of Italians for the way he moved them, for how he made them laugh and reflect," President Giorgio Napolitano said yesterday in one of many messages of condolences mourning the director.

Irish Independent

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