You have to be a little bad to become Mario Monicelli. In fact, how can you tell the Italians with such attention and precision if there is not the right analytical perfidy, the same one you see in the Italian comedy? The fact is that Monicelli, who would have turned 106 today May 16, even in leaving the scene by taking his own life, launching himself on November 29, 2010 from a window of the San Giovanni hospital in Rome, showed his extreme nature, far from that italic nature of the compromise he had so often told.
Born on May 16, 1915 in Viareggio, son of the theater critic and journalist Tommaso, with a degree in history and philosophy in Pisa, Monicelli made his film debut in 1932 with the experimental short, signed together with Alberto Mondadori, Heart revealing.
Father of the Italian comedy together with Dino Risi, Luigi Comencini and Steno, he has made about 66 films and is the author of more than 80 screenplays. Among his most famous films are masterpieces such as Guards and Thieves with Totò; I soliti ignoti (Oscar nomination), The Great War (1959) (Golden Lion in Venice); The Brancaleone army (1965). The sixties were those of friendship with Risi, of the clashes with Antonioni ("he is a genius - he said - but I like to make more understandable films") and in which he invented a Monica Vitti comic actress in The girl with the gun ( 1968). In 1975 he then collected the last will of Pietro Germi who entrusted him with the realization of Amici mie. In 1977 he recovered a noir, tragic dimension with Un borghese piccolo piccolo.
Then came Hopefully Female (1985) and the evergreen and ferocious Serpent Relatives (1993). In 2006 he went back behind the camera with The desert roses, freely inspired by Mario Tobino's The Libyan Desert and Giancarlo Fusco's War of Albania, demonstrating his usual tireless vitality.
The director, who had to witness the death of his great friends and colleagues such as Dino Risi, Steno, Luigi Comencini, Suso Cecchi D'Amico and Furio Scarpelli but also the thankless task of commemorating them, when he was questioned by journalists, did not he let go of no rhetoric. Often, more than praise for the deceased, there were criticisms, irony. It was like that.
In recent years his bitter worldview had gone public. Among his latest releases at the Viola Day in February 2010 and the first no B day in December 2009 in Piazza San Giovanni, he shouted at the young people to hold on: "Long live you, long live your strength, long live the working class, long live the work.
We must build a Republic in which there is justice, equality and the right to work, which are different from freedom "and he had been to Montecitorio with his colleagues in July 2009 to protest against the cuts to the Fus. Italy was for him "a peninsula adrift".
Monicelli then, in his own way, was a man of action, one who had exposed himself, had got his hands dirty. In 1937, the same year in which under the pseudonym Michele Badiek he had tried his hand at the feature film for the first time (Pioggia d'estate) and had met Macario and Totò, he had approached the circles of the anti-fascist left. Then, changing his mind, he had enlisted (in cavalry), perhaps only for adventure, and had faced the harsh campaigns of Albania and Africa. Finally, in the autumn of 1943, when he returned to Italy, he left the fascist uniform and in Rome he also flanked the Resistance together with his anarchist friend Comunardo. Much appreciated also in America, Monicelli had received three Oscar nominations, as well as for I Soliti ignoti nominated for best foreign film,for the screenplays of I Companions and Casanova 70).
To understand at least a little the caustic spirit of Monicelli, at the Venice Film Festival in 2008 he said without too much irony: "I can't wait for De Oliveira to disappear. It has always been my obsession. He is older than me. , better than me and has also been invited to more festivals than me ". He had said it when he was 93, speaking of the then centennial Portuguese master.
Death, finally, for him was to be challenged also because he knew it well. Telling in an interview in 2007 the death of his father, who was also a suicide, he said: "I understood his gesture. He had been unfairly cut off from his job and felt he had nothing more to do here. Life is not always the case. worth living; if it ceases to be true and dignified it is not worth it. I found my father's corpse. Around six in the morning I heard a shot of a revolver, got up and forced the door of the bathroom. Among other things, a very modest bathroom ".