Those of us film lovers lucky enough to have known the cornucopia of the seventies and eighties remember that in the midst of films by great auteurs (who, for some, had started their career way earlier) Pasolini, Fellini, Scola, Bergman, Herzog, Wender, Fassbinder, Resnais, Rivette, Von Trotta, Wajda and so many others in an unending list of quasi-geniuses, anything by the Taviani brothers was the promise of a miracle.
Even before seeing the film, we knew the treat would be immense: a simple, almost lazily-told story that would also attain a spiritual level that would shake and uplift us. Those stories, “Allonsanfan,” (1974) “Padre Padrone,” (1977) “Il Prato,” (1979) so many others, all the way to the powerful 2012 “Cesare deve morire,” and the 2015 “Maraviglioso Boccaccio,” not forgetting my personal favorite, “The Night of San Lorenzo,” were always directed by both Paolo and Vittorio via a special collab that would preclude disagreements. One brother would direct one scene, the other the next one, and they would alternate without interference in the other’s work till it was done.
Vittorio, who died last night at age 88, was half of that magical team which brought us so much true poetry, meaning one that without attempting lyricism achieves absolute beauty.