Death of Vincenzo Cerami

Last Updated: August 2, 2013By Tags:

Italian Writer and journalist Vincenzo Cerami, author of “Life is beautiful,” the Roberto Benigni film, died Wednesday. He was 72 and had suffered from a long illness.

Cerami was a lifelong devoté of Pier Paolo Pasolini’s. The latter was Cerami’s literature professor in college and hired Cerami as a director’s assistant when the young student was 25; the film they collaborated on was 1964’s “Love Meetings.” Cerami worked with Pasolini again when he directed “The Hawks and The Sparrows” (1966) (“Uccellacci e uccellini” was the original title).

Success came to Cerami with the adaptation of his novel “An average little man” by Mario Monicelli in 1976 starring Alberto Sordi in the main role, a small triumph which opened the doors of Cinecittà for him. Then came the meeting with Roberto Benigni in the late eighties, for whom he would write the screenplay for seven films, the most famous of which was “Life is beautiful.” A fable featuring a father and his son who are interned in a Nazi death camp, the film won a slew of awards around the globe, including three Academy Awards and the Grand Jury Prize at the Cannes Festival.

Cerami, who was married with two children, had been involved in politics within Italy’s Democratic Party (PD) and worked as a film critic for several Italian newspapers. Of his collaboration with Pasolini he said, “without it I would never have known to look at the world with mercy and severity all at the same time. I will always lack Pier Paolo’s priceless gift of seeing life as one big collective poem.”