Italian director and screenwriter Francesco Rosi, whose films took on corruption in postwar Italy, winning top honors at the Venice and Cannes film festivals, has died. He was 92.
Rosi died Saturday in Rome, according to Italian news reports. The cause wasn't released, but Corriere della Sera reported that he had been suffering from bronchitis.
Rosi's best known works include "Hands Over the City," a film about political corruption that won the Golden Lion at Venice in 1963, and "The Mattei Affair," which dealt with the mysterious death of an oil tycoon. It won the Golden Palm at Cannes in 1972. His last film was "The Truce," a 1996 adaptation of Primo Levi's novel starring John Turturro.
Italian filmmakers, including Oscar winner Paolo Sorrentino and longtime friend and collaborator Franco Zeffirelli, mourned Rosi's death.
Zeffirelli said in a statement that Rosi was for him "a friend, a lifetime companion and brother," and that the loss was "like experiencing a mutilation." Zeffirelli, 92, and Rosi started out together as assistants to Luchino Visconti, becoming collaborators and lifelong friends.
Born in Naples in 1922, Rosi was an innovator of socially committed filmmaking that took on both controversy and corruption in Italian society.
In addition to the awards in Venice and Cannes, he won a Silver Bear in Berlin in 1961 with "Salvatore Giuliano," a film about a Sicilian bandit.
He was also honored in 2012 with a Golden Lion for lifetime achievement for having left "an indelible mark on the history of Italian filmmaking."
"There are directors, and they are few and far between, who are capable of constructing worlds, and they do it by the invention of methods and styles. Rosi was one of the very few," Sorrentino was quoted as saying by Italian news agency ANSA.
Rosi is survived by daughter Carolina, an actress. His wife of nearly 50 years, Giancarla Mandelli, died in 2010 at age 83, when her clothing caught fire from a cigarette.
Barry writes for the Associated Press.