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Antonio Pietrangeli Retrospective

Film still from IO LA CONOSCEVO BENE: A young woman gazes thoughtfully out of the window, resting her face in her hands.

The writer and director Antonio Pietrangeli (1919–1968) was one of the important innovators of Italian cinema in the 1950s and 1960s. In 1968, his oeuvre had just reached a pinnacle with IO LA CONOSCEVO BENE (I Knew Her Well) when he drowned on set at the age of 49. Pietrangeli’s films are not well known in Germany and await discovery. In cooperation with the Italian Cultural Institute of Berlin, Arsenal is showing a retrospective of 12 films, making it the most comprehensive to date in the country.

Antonio Pietrangeli was born in Rome in 1919. He studied medicine but initially worked as a translator and literary and film critic. In his texts, he promoted a revival of Italian cinema and became an advocate of neorealism, a term he himself coined in a 1942 article. That same year, he started to work on films as an assistant director and co-writer. He was involved in two productions by Luchino Visconti and also worked as a screenwriter for Roberto Rossellini, Alberto Lattuada, Pietro Germi, Alessandro Blasetti, Luigi Comencini and others before making his own directorial debut in 1953 with IL SOLE NEGLI OCCHI (Sun in the Eyes). Ten feature films and two contributions to episodic films followed until his premature death in 1968. His debut already hinted at what would later become representative of his oeuvre in terms of tone and subject: The central theme of his films is the inequality between the sexes in modern industrial society. Pietrangeli was particularly interested in women and their realities against the backdrop of the transformation of Italy from an agrarian to an industrial society. He combined the moral urgency and political critique of neorealism with the satirical elements of Commedia all'italiana and developed a unique style that merged social criticism, drama, and entertainment. Mostly told from a female perspective, his films are comedies with a melancholy undertone. (Hans-Joachim Fetzer)

With the kind support of the Istituto Italiano di Cultura di Berlino.

Past screenings

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Funded by:

  • Logo Minister of State for Culture and the Media