Italian Filmmaker Comencini Dies

Luigi Comencini, a postwar filmmaker known as the "children's director" for his films examining childhood, has died. He was 90.

The director died Friday, April 6, after a long illness, says his family, according to international news sources.

Comencini was a "maestro, one of the great and unforgettable directors in the history of cinema," said Rome's mayor Walter Veltroni in a statement. "Thanks to him, we smiled and laughed about ourselves. More than anything else, we loved his intense and delicate way of looking at the world of children."

Comencini was born in the northern Italian town of Salo in June 1916 and first dipped his toe in the world of showbiz as a newspaper film critic. In 1946, he made his screen debut with the documentary "Bambini in Citta" ("Children in the City").

Over the course of his 44-year career, he directed more than 40 films, including the 1953 romantic comedy "Pane, Amore e Fantasia" ("Bread, Love and Dreams") starring Gina Lollobrigida and Vittorio De Sica. The film earned an Oscar nomination and snagged the Berlin International Film Festival's Silver Bear award.

Comencini is also known for "Incompreso" ("Misunderstood") about a boy dealing with his mother's deatha nd the popular "La Avventure di Pinocchio" ("The Adventures of Pinocchio") for TV.

The filmmaker is survived by his wife and daughters, two of whom are also in the film business. Daughter Cristina Comencini directed "La Bestia Nel Cuore" ("Don't Tell"), which was nominated for a best foreign language film Oscar in 2006.

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