Castellani, Renato

Castellani, Renato
   Screenwriter and director. Often labeled a "calligrapher" because of his meticulous attention to the more formal and pictorial aspects of his films, Castellani grew up in Argentina before returning to Italy to study architecture at the Politecnico of Milan. While studying he began experimenting with radio as an artistic medium. In 1936 he served as a military officer in Africa, where he came into contact with Mario Camerini, who was filming Il grande appello (The Last Roll-Call, 1936). After returning to Italy he began working as a screenwriter for a number of established directors, including Camerini and Alessandro Blasetti, whom he served as both screenwriter and assistant director on Un'avventura di Salvator Rosa (An Adventure of Salvator Rosa, 1940) and La corona di ferro (The Iron Crown, 1941). A year later, after having been assistant director for Mario Soldati's Malombra (1942), he wrote and directed his first film, Un colpo di pistola (A Pistol Shot, 1942), a highly composed and very elegant adaptation of a short story by Alexander Pushkin. This was followed by Zaza (1943, but only released in March 1944), a refined variation on the Lady of the Camelias theme to which Nino Rota contributed an original score, and La donna della montagna (The Woman of the Mountain, 1943), which, however, was left unfinished due to the war.
   After the war Castellani directed some theatrical reviews (including a production of Noel Coward's Blithe Spirit) before embarking on a number of films in a decidedly neorealist vein: Sotto il sole di Roma (Beneath a Roman Sun, 1948), Eprimavera (It's Spring, 1949), and the film for which he is best remembered, Due soldi di speranza (Two Cents'Worth of Hope, 1952). The story of a young man who returns to his village in southern Italy after the war only to be confronted by dismal job prospects and the infuriating antics of a feisty young woman determined to marry him at any cost, Due soldi won the Grand Jury Prize at Cannes and a Nastro d'argento for Castellani as director. In 1954 a version of Romeo and Juliet, shot in Verona with scenography and costumes meticulously modeled on Italian Renaissance paintings, earned Castellani the Golden Lion at the Venice Festival. The tragic love story I sogni nel cassetto (Dreams in a Drawer, 1957) was followed by Nella citta l'inferno (Hell in the City, 1958), a film that brought Anna Magnani and Giulietta Masina together in the tough confines of a women's prison. Two years later Il brigante (The Brigand, 1961), adapted from a novel by Giuseppe Berto, recounted the plight of a left-wing Calabrian peasant forced to become an outlaw. Accompanied by the haunting music of Nino Rota, the film was nominated for the Golden Lion at Venice in 1961. Less-than-memorable episodes in the compilation films Tre notti d'amore (Three Nights of Love, 1963) and Controsesso (Countersex, 1964) were followed by Questi fantasmi (Ghosts, Italian-Style, 1968), an only moderately successful adaptation of Eduardo De Filippo's 1948 play, although well acted by Sophia Loren and Vittorio Gassman. Una breve stagione (A Brief Season, 1969) was his last work for the big screen before devoting himself, like Roberto Rossellini, to television, for which he wrote and directed a very popular series on the life of Leonardo da Vinci (Leonardo, 1971), a three-part fictional recreation of Il furto della Gioconda (The Theft of the Mona Lisa, 1978) and a miniseries on the composer Giuseppe Verdi (Verdi, 1982).

Historical dictionary of Italian cinema. . 2010.

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  • Castellani, Renato — (1913 1985)    Screenwriter and director. Often labeled a calligrapher because of his meticulous attention to the more formal and pictorial aspects of his films, Castellani grew up in Argentina before returning to Italy to study architecture at… …   Guide to cinema

  • Castellani, Renato — • КАСТЕЛЛА НИ (Castellani) Ренато (4.9.1913 28.12.1985)    итал. режиссёр. Окончил Миланский политехнич. ин т. В кино с 1936 как пом. режиссёра. В том же году стал печататься в ж. Cinema , выступая сторонником каллиграфизма . Это направление,… …   Кино: Энциклопедический словарь

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  • R. Castellani — Renato Castellani réalisateurs et réalisatrices par récompense ou nationalité Renato Castellani (né le 4 septembre 1913 à Finale Ligure, dans la province de Savone, en Ligurie et mort le 28 décembre 1985 à Rome) était un un… …   Wikipédia en Français

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