Sad news about Mario Monicelli just coming out of Rome, here’s the story from The Guardian:
The four-time Oscar-nominated film-maker Mario Monicelli has died at the age of 95 after leaping to his death from a hospital window, according to reports.
Known as one of the masters of the Commedia all’Italiana (“Italian-style comedy”) for movies such as 1975’s My Friends (Amici Miei) and 1958’s Big Deal on Madonna Street (also known as Persons Unknown, or I Soliti Ignoti), Monicelli had been suffering with terminal prostate cancer. He was admitted to the San Giovanni hospital in Rome just a few days ago, according to Italy’s Ansa news agency.
Born in 1915 in Viareggio in Tuscany, Monicelli directed 70 films, making his debut in 1935. His other movies include The Great War (La Grande Guerra) from 1959, which won him the Golden Lion at the Venice film festival, as well as an Oscar nomination. Big Deal on Madonna Street saw him discover the comic talents of Vittorio Gassman and Marcello Mastroianni. He also worked in theatre and television, and was an occasional actor.
The film-maker’s death was announced live on Italian television. In a 2007 interview with Vanity Fair, he said he was not afraid of dying, but rather “not being alive”. “Death doesn’t frighten me, it bothers me,” he said. “It bothers me for example that someone can be there tomorrow, but me I am no longer there.”
Monicelli was a particular critic of the policies of the Italian prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, and what he called the “get-rich culture”. He worked on a documentary about the protest-hit G8 summit in Genoa in 2001 and in June called on students to rise up against plans by Berlusconi’s rightwing coalition government to reduce Italy’s culture budget.