Of the great ladies of Italian cinema, one of the most accomplished and admired is rarely seen on camera: screenwriter Suso Cecchi d’Amico, a prolific craftsman and perceptive, witty humanist. Lead writer for the films of Luchino Visconti, she also collaborated with the masters of postwar Italian cinema, including Michelangelo Antonioni, Vittorio De Sica, Luigi Comencini, and Francesco Rosi. This program pays a 90th-birthday tribute to Cecchi d’Amico with a screening of Rocco and His Brothers (1960), her fifth film for Visconti. Visconti’s practice was to assemble a team of writers to shape a story line—often derived from literary sources—and then finalize the script with a smaller group. A key member of these teams, Cecchi d’Amico understood the director’s obsession with historical research, which allowed him to set characters in a specific time and place and lend dramatic rhythm to the moral conflicts and personal betrayals that mark his films. Her writing seamlessly honed the themes of an Italy in flux, whether coming into nationhood (in The Leopard, 1963) or an industrial society (in Rocco).
Organized by Mary Lea Bandy, The Celeste Bartos Chief Curator, Department of Film and Media.