Entertainment News

Celebrated Italian director Vittorio Taviani dies

One half of the Taviani brothers, and one of the most respected names in Italian cinema.

Vittorio Taviani, one half of the Taviani brothers, has died at the age of 88. The Taviani brothers are among Italy’s most well-known directors, with such acclaimed credits as Padre Padrone, La Notte di San Lorenza, Caesar Must Die and Wondrous Boccaccio.

The brothers kicked off their partnership in 1962 with Un Uomo Da Bruciare, which they directed along with Valentino Orsini. In 1967, they made their first film as a pair, I Sovversivi. The collaboration consisted of the brothers directing alternate scenes. Paolo is younger than Vittorio by two years.

Padre Padrone, made in 1977 and tracing the journey of a shepherd who becomes a linguist, won the Taviani brothers the Palme d’Or, the highest honour at the Cannes Film Festival.

Kaos (1984), one of several literary adaptations by the brothers, was appreciated for its poetic narrative style. Caesar Must Die, in which a group of prison inmates rehearse for a production of Julius Caesar, bagged the brothers the Golden Bear award at the Berlin Film Festival in 2012. The 2017 title, Una Questione Privata, was directed by Paolo Taviani.

Play
Caesar Must Die (2012).

The brothers were described in a Guardian interview in 2013 as “among the last titans of classic Italian cinema”. The interview revealed their working method: “Labour is divided equally on set, with each brother taking the reins on alternate camera setups. Should there be an odd number of them in a day, they will toss a coin.”

The Tavianis were fascinated with other such sibling collaborations in cinema. “A few years ago, we met the Coen brothers,” Vittorio Taviani told Guardian. “We asked them: ‘How do you work together?’ They replied: ‘No, you started this whole thing – you tell us.’ But then the four of us agreed that it must remain a mystery.”

Vittorio (left) and Paolo Taviani. Image credit: Georges Biard, CC BY-SA 3.0
Vittorio (left) and Paolo Taviani. Image credit: Georges Biard, CC BY-SA 3.0
Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

What are racers made of?

Grit, strength and oodles of fearlessness.

Sportspersons are known for their superhuman discipline, single-minded determination and the will to overcome all obstacles. Biographies, films and documentaries have brought to the fore the behind-the-scenes reality of the sporting life. Being up at the crack of dawn, training without distraction, facing injuries with a brave face and recovering to fight for victory are scenes commonly associated with sportspersons.

Racers are no different. Behind their daredevilry lies the same history of dedication and discipline. Cornering on a sports bike or revving up sand dunes requires the utmost physical endurance, and racers invest heavily in it. It helps stave off fatigue and maintain alertness and reaction time. It also helps them get the most out of their racecraft - the entirety of a racer’s skill set, to which years of training are dedicated.

Racecraft begins with something as ‘simple’ as sitting on a racing bike; the correct stance is the key to control and manoeuvre the bike. Riding on a track – tarmac or dirt is a great deal different from riding on the streets. A momentary lapse of concentration can throw the rider into a career ending crash.

Physical skill and endurance apart, racers approach a race with the same analytical rigour as a student appearing in an exam. They conduct an extensive study of not just the track, but also everything around it - trees, marshal posts, tyre marks etc. It’s these reference points that help the racer make braking or turning decisions in the frenzy of a high-stakes competition.

The inevitability of a crash is a reality every racer lives with, and seeks to internalise this during their training. In the immediate aftermath of the crash, racers are trained to keep their eyes open to help the brain make crucial decisions to avoid collision with other racers or objects on the track. Racers that meet with accidents can be seen sliding across the track with their heads held up, in a bid to minimise injuries to the head.

But racecraft is, of course, only half the story. Racing as a profession continues to confound many, and racers have been traditionally misunderstood. Why would anyone want to pour their blood, sweat and tears into something so risky? Where do racers get the fearlessness to do laps at mind boggling speed or hurtle down a hill unassisted? What about the impact of high speeds on the body day after day, or the monotony of it all? Most importantly, why do racers race? The video below explores the question.

Play


The video features racing champions from the stable of TVS Racing, the racing arm of TVS Motor Company, which recently completed 35 years of competitive racing in India. TVS Racing has competed in international rallies and races across some of the toughest terrains - Dakar, Desert Storm, India Baja, Merzouga Rally - and in innumerable national championships. Its design and engineering inputs over the years have also influenced TVS Motors’ fleet in India. You can read more about TVS Racing here.

This article has been produced by Scroll Brand Studio on behalf of TVS Racing and not by the Scroll editorial team.