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51th Directors’ Fortnight May 15-25, 2019

Peter Del Monte

Born in San Francisco, California, on 29 July 1943, Peter Del Monte graduated in letters with a thesis on Italian cinema, after which he obtained a diploma in directing from the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia of Rome with a film entitled « Fuori campo », which was screened at various festivals.
After working for several years as a film critic, he directed two features for Rai: « Le parole a venire » (1970), based on a short story by Albert Camus, and « Ultime lettere di Jacopo Ortis » (1973) from the eponymous novel by Ugo Foscolo.
However, his real cinema debut came with « Irene, Irene » (1975), a refined film focusing on existential issues carried through to great effect by fine performances from Alain Cuny and Olimpia Carlisi. After 5 years of enforced non-productivity due to a lack of funding for his projects, he succeeded in completing « L’altra donna » (1980), a tale of an unusual friendship between a woman and her black housemaid.
In 1983 he made « Piso pisello », a well-mannered if slightly flimsy tale of a a teenager who unexpectedly finds himself in the role of a father. Much more successful was « Little Fires (Piccoli fuochi) » (1985) – scripted together with writer Giovanni Pascutto – based on the complex relationship between a child and his babysitter. « Invito al viaggio » (1982) was a curious road-movie filmed in France about the ambiguous relationship between a young man and his rock singer twin sister.
« Julia and Julia (Giulia e Giulia) » (1987) was a bizarre experiment in the use of high-definition cameras but was very weak in terms of narrative. Equally lacking in focus was « Ballet (Etoile) » (1988), a macabre, mystery-like tale filmed in a dark and brooding Budapest.
The interlinked mini-stories of « Tracce di vita amorosa » (1990) are pervaded by a sense of meaninglessness and irresolution. The delicate « Travelling Companion (Compagna di viaggio) » (1996), which recounts an unusual friendship between an elderly man and a young woman, is instead one of the director’s best films. The subsequent « La ballata del lavavetri » (1998) returns to the realms of sterile and confused parable, as is now too often the case of this cinematographer’s works.
His latest film is « Against the Wind (Controvento) ».