Director: Paolo Taviani

Country: Italy

Year: 2022

Duration: 90 min

Languages: Italian / subtitled in English

Category: ,

One of Paolo (in Sodankylä in 2000) and Vittorio Taviani’s most notable directorial works, Chaos (1984), was based on the short stories by the 1934 Nobel Prize-winning author Luigi Pirandello. When Vittorio Taviani died in 2018, and Paolo had to make his first solo film at over 90 years old, Pirandello again provided the starting point for this work dedicated to Vittorio.

When Pirandello died in 1936, he wanted no funeral or memorial service to be held. Leonora addio tells the true story with amusing twists of how Pirandello’s ashes are taken years later from Rome to his native Sicily. The rest is a film adaptation of Pirandello’s farewell novella The Nail, about the murder committed by an immigrant youth in New York.

A bit of a documentary in fiction. Black and white, some colour. Elegance. An account of 20th century Italian history and culture. Relationship to fascism. The Catholic Church. Superstition. Violence. Paisa. Antonioni, Zurlini, Lattuada. Theatre. Melancholic, beautiful, surreal. Controversial, too. The International Film Critics FIPRESCI Prize at the Berlinale 2022!

Vittorio (b. 1929) and PAOLO (b. 1932) TAVIANI and were born near Florence, in the small town of San Miniato, whose wartime events were the subject of their 1944 film The Night of the Shooting Stars (La Notte di San Lorenzo, 1982). The tradition of Italian neorealism and their directorial inspiration Roberto Rossellini influenced the brothers’ early work in particular. In the 1970s and 1980s, they were at the top of their country’s cinema, most famously with the Cannes Palme d’Or-winning Father and Master (Padre padrone, 1977), a celebration of learning and social awareness. Rarely have historical and political issues been addressed in the cinema with such variety, interest, and elegance as in the Tavianis’ entire body of work.

Timo Malmi