From Fellini to Leone: the most famous Italian directors of the twentieth century

Creators of timeless films, that will remain etched in the memory forever: Italy has seen the birth of some of the most important directors in the world. Linked by the common thread of Italian neorealism, let’s discover who are the most famous Italian directors of the twentieth century.

Who are the most famous Italian directors of the twentieth century? 

It would seem a trivial question, yet not banal. There are those who would say Federico Fellini, and would be right, who Sergio Leone, and would be equally right.

Fonte: Ulisse Online

The main thing to keep in mind is that cinema, as an art form, is certainly very subjective, although the objective component is sometimes undeniable. It is impossible, in fact, not to admit that some directors have inexorably marked the Italian film scene. So much to be remembered, looked at and studied even after almost a century.

Many of these, then, are connected by that common thread that is the Italian neorealism, an artistic current that involved most of the film productions of the post-war period, from 1943 until 1955 and that to date is the flagship of local cinema.

InsideTheBook: TuttoDeSica. Protagonista – Regista – Caratterista (di Aldo  Viganò)
Fonte: Inside the Show

The beginning of the twentieth century

Almost all the most famous Italian directors of the twentieth century were born in the early 1900s, many close to 1920. But what does that have to do with their skill? Probably – let’s take a guess – the turbulent years of the so-called short century, marked by two world wars, have meant that the propensity to art has become more and more refined.

Roberto Rossellini | Monografie | Ondacinema
Fonte: ondacinema

Very often art is the result of torments, internal or external, that lead to ask questions, to wonder about how the world is, up to want to give its own representation of reality.

Famous directors born in the early twentieth century

Many of the most famous Italian directors of the twentieth century, therefore, were born between 1900 and 1930. These include Vittorio De Sica (1901), Roberto Rossellini (1906), Michelangelo Antonioni (1912), Federico Fellini (1920), Pier Paolo Pasolini (1922) and Sergio Leone (1929).

Pasolini, cinema in presa diretta - L'Espresso
Fonte: Espresso

Their skill was to be able to reconcile an art like that of cinema with the ability to transpose stories potentially within the reach of all, bringing on the big screen the reality and decadence of their contemporary, without leaving anything to chance.

Best Italian films of the 20th century

The production of the twentieth century gave us jewels that we could hardly do without, films that have marked not only the Italian film scene but the international one.

When we talk about the best Italian films of the twentieth century we cannot fail to mention Roma Città Aperta, by Roberto Rossellini, which according to critics marks a real watershed in the history of cinema so much so that the director and producer Otto Premigner argued that the history of cinema was divided into two eras: one before and one after Roma Città Aperta.

Roma città aperta (1945) di Rossellini - Recensione |
Fonte: Quinlan

It is also worth mentioning the filmography of Vittorio De Sica, who with Sciuscià, Ladri di Biciclette, Ieri, oggi, domani and Il giardino dei Finzi-Contini won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film four times.

Ladri di biciclette – Il triste e sconsolato capolavoro del Neorealismo –  der Zweifel
Fonte: MyMovies

If we talk about Italian cinema, however, we must mention the Fellini production, which is in a particular position compared to the rest of neorealism, with masterpieces such as La Dolce Vita or Amarcord, terms that have now become quite rightly part of the daily vocabulary. 

folle studio Raramente la dolce vita moie Specifico Loro didascalia
Fonte: Wikipedia

Where films are produced in Italy

A film industry as fervent as that of the twentieth century had a common denominator: the studios of Cinecittà. One of the largest film studios in Europe, born as the Italian Hollywood, Cinecittà has seen the creation of over 3000 films and the work of hundreds of directors, including the best Italian directors of the twentieth century.

Studi di Cinecittà | Turismo Roma
Fonte: Turismo Roma

The complex, built between 1936 and 1937, is located in a strategic position in the city of Rome, in a suburban area close to the Castelli Romani and well connected to the center, which allowed, over time, to become an even more important pole for film and television productions to the present day.

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