Who knows how Tinto Brass's life would have been different if he hadn't been born in Italy, the cradle of Christianity and seat of the Vatican.
But the master of auteur eroticism, who turns 90 on March 26, is a born fighter: "I've spent almost more time in the courts than behind the camera - said Tinto - twenty-six films out of twenty-seven censored, all except La Vacanza of 1971, prize of the jury at the Lido".
The fact is that Brass, born in Milan in 1933 but Venetian by adoption, was able to afford eroticism due to his culture and background.
After graduating in law, in the 1950s he went to Paris where he worked as an archivist at the Cinematheque Française and was assistant director to Alberto Cavalcanti and Joris Ivens.
Upon his return to Italy, his training was completed in 1959 as assistant to Roberto Rossellini both for India and for General Della Rovere.
"I am satisfied - said Brass in February 2016 at the exhibition 'A free look' dedicated to him, a sort of recognition-compensation towards a now neglected author - that my activity as a film director is finally brought to the attention of a vast public This exhibition shows my way of looking at reality in all its manifestations".
And, again on that occasion, the director - in a wheelchair after the stroke that struck him in 2010 - recounted how his screen tests were always done in the sign of the most exquisite simplicity: "I always had the actresses undress completely naked making them recite a few jokes invented on the spot. Everyone accepted and I was able to immediately understand what they would have done on the set already from the way they moved during the audition. Once Aldo Busi arrived dressed as a woman, I gave him the audition, because I didn't suspect anything.
Then, when I realized it, I laughed and sent him away. always dedicated to the themes of work, the London period begins, always persecuted by censorship.
In 1971 at the Venice festival he won the Jury Prize for the film 'The holiday' with Vanessa Redgrave and Franco Nero'.
This was his last act as a still partially orthodox director, before the 1980s which saw his 'erotic' breakthrough which would allow him to bring onto the screen actresses who were always scantily clad, from Serena Grandi to Deborah Caprioglio to Stefania Sandrelli with whom he made ' The key'.
From him then films such as Salon Kitty, Caligula, Miranda, Fallo!
and, in 2005, Monamour, his last work and the first filmed digitally.
Few people know that Brass, capable of managing his image, cigar always in his mouth and a joke ready with his hoarse voice, was a close friend of Federico Fellini, also a lover of eroticism, but more popular and never taken beyond certain limits .
Historical enemy for feminists of the first and second hour, the director loves the b-side of the female body - just like the Marquis de Sade and the Venetian poet of the 1700s Giorgio Alvise Baffo - to whom, among other things, he dedicated a book he is very proud.
Cult phrase of the director, the one that creates a clear distinction between female and male eroticism: "The man - he said he - gets excited with explicit sequences, the woman with nuances".
In paying homage to him for his 90th birthday, the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia acquired the director's personal archive, which includes film copies of his films and 250 folders and boxes including subjects, treatments, film proposals, contracts, production diaries , correspondence, press reviews, set design sketches, materials for unfinished or unrealized films: a mine of documents spanning sixty years of Italian cinema history.
The archive was meticulously filed thanks to the collection, reorganization and classification work by Caterina Varzi, a lawyer and former actress from Salerno, whom Brass married in a second marriage at the age of 84, in 2017 (after a fifty-year marriage with Carla Cipriani, died in 2006).
In 2019, when he was hospitalized for an illness,