GREAT CINEMATOGRAPHERS


#1: "L'eclisse" [1962]

#2: "La sfida" [1958]

 

   


GIANNI DI VENANZO

 

Born: 18 December 1920, Teramo, Abruzzi, Italy.

Died: 3 January 1966, Rome, Italy [during the prod of 'The Honey Pot'].

Education: Studied at the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia for 1 year.

Career: Was c.asst to Massimo Terzano, Otello Martelli, Aldo Tonti, a.o.

In 1953, he ph 15 short tvm's for USA tv.

Alan Bacchelli dir/ph the doc 'Gianni Di Venanzo: un grande autore della fotografia' [40m; interviews with directors and cinematographers who worked with or were influenced by Di Venanzo].

His son Massimo is a doph.

Awards: Italian Film Journalists 'Silver Ribbon' Award [1958] for 'Il grido', [1960] for 'I magliari', [1963] for 'Salvatore Giuliano', [1964] for '8½' & [1966] for 'Giulietta degli spiriti'.



1962

 

Gianni Di Venanzo began his career during World War II as camera assistant to Aldo Tonti, Otello Martelli and others, working on the films of key neorealist directors such as Visconti, Rossellini, De Santis and De Sica. Given his training in the flat documentary style favored by these filmmakers, as well as the more somber approach of Tonti, it is all the more surprising that he developed in his work with Michelangelo Antonioni the bleached-out, shimmering whiteness that now so strongly evokes classic Italian black and white cinematography.

Working with Antonioni, particularly on 'Le amiche', he also developed a capacity for filming complex and changing groupings of actors, experience that proved useful when he worked with Fellini on 'Otto e mezzo'. Fellini's masterpiece can also be seen as Di Venanzo's, with its subtle gradations of light and shadow essential in helping the viewer to navigate this complex assemblage of dream, memory, imagination and reality.

Di Venanzo put his early experience as a cameraman to good use also in his work with Francesco Rosi, particularly in 'Salvatore Giuliano' and 'Le mani sulla città'. In these films he recreated the documentary feeling of neorealism, adding another level of chronological signification to each.

He was universally lauded for his perfectionism and the variety of his photographic talents. John Gillett says these opinions were based on Di Venanzo's "...extraordinary ability to establish a rapport with each director; a facility for sensing the particular textures they sought after; and sheer tenacity in getting those precise effects on to celluloid." His untimely death at 45 from hepatitis has cast him into an undeserved obscurity in film history. Had he survived he would surely equal, and perhaps surpass, the reputation now held only by Vittorio Storaro among Italian cinematographers. [From an article by Stephen Brophy.]


 

 FILMS

1945

Giorni di gloria/Days of Glory [various] b&w; doc/71m; cph: Arthur Reed, Massimo Terzano, Giovanni Pucci, a.o.

1949

Cantoria d'Angeli [Desiderio Hamza (= Dezsö Ákos Hamza)] b&w; doc/?m

1949

La scuola di Severino [Tito Guerrini] b&w; doc/?m

1949

Pesca a Mazzara del Vallo [Y. Fallette] b&w; doc/?m

1949

Ponti e porte di Roma [Desiderio Hamza (= Dezsö Ákos Hamza)] b&w; doc/?m

1949

La primavera del papa [Desiderio Hamza (= Dezsö Ákos Hamza)] b&w; doc/?m

1950

Procida [Ugo Fasano] b&w; doc/10m

1950

S. Carlino [Ugo Fasano] b&w; doc/?m

1950

Carrara [G.L. Lomazi] b&w; doc/?m

1951

Lo scocciatore pubblico no. 1 [Riccardo Moschino] b&w; doc/10m

1951

Achtung! Banditi!/Attention! Bandits! [Carlo Lizzani] b&w

1951

Il capitano di Venezia [Gianni Puccini] b&w

1952

Personaggi di un sogno [Aldo Rubens] b&w; doc/10m

1952

Er fattaccio [Riccardo Moschino] b&w

1952

La minute de vérité/L'ora della verità/The Moment of Truth [Jean Delannoy] b&w; cph: Luise Hölscher & Robert Lefebvre

1952

Ai margini della metropoli [Carlo Lizzani] b&w

1953

Amore in città/Love in the City [seg 'L'amore che si paga' dir by Carlo Lizzani, 'Tentato suicidio' dir by Michelangelo Antonioni, 'Paradiso per tre ore' dir by Dino Risi, 'Agenzia matrimoniale' dir by Federico Fellini, 'Storia di Caterina' dir by Francesco Maselli & 'Gli italiani si voltano' dir by Alberto Lattuado] b&w

1953

Cronache di poveri amanti/Chronicle of Poor Lovers [Carlo Lizzani] b&w

1953

Terra straniera/Foreign Earth [Sergio Corbucci] b&w; filmed 1953 & May 1954; re-edited in 1958 as 'Miniera tragica'

1954

Donne e soldati [Luigi Malerba & Antonio Marchi] b&w

1954

Le ragazze di San Frediano/The Girls of San Frediano [Valerio Zurlini] b&w

 

[Left] with M. Antonioni - "Le amiche"

 

1955

Le amiche/The Girlfriends [Michelangelo Antonioni] b&w

1955

Lo scapolo/El soltero/The Bachelor [Antonio Pietrangeli] b&w; re-edited as 'Alberto il conquistatore'

1955

Gli sbandati/Abandoned [Francesco Maselli] b&w

1955

Quando tramonta il sole [Guido Brignone] cs/c

1956

Difendo il mio amore/Defend My Love/I'll Defend You My Love [Giulio Macchi & (superv) Vincent Sherman] b&w

1956

Suor Letizia/Il più grande amore/The Awakening/When Angels Don't Fly [Mario Camerini] b&w

1956

Terrore sulla città [Anton Giulio Majano] b&w

1956

Kean [: genio e sregolatezza] [Vittorio Gassman & Francesco Rosi] vv/c

 

With Michelangelo Antonioni [right] - "Il grido"

 

1957

Il grido/The Cry [Michelangelo Antonioni] b&w

1957

Rascel Fifì [Guido Leoni] b&w

1957

Un ettaro di cielo/Piece of the Sky [Aglauco Casadio] b&w

1957

La loi... c'est la loi/La legge è legge/The Law Is the Law [Christian-Jaque] b&w

1958

La sfida/The Challenge [Francesco Rosi] b&w

1958

I soliti ignoti/Big Deal on Madonna Street/Persons Unknown [Mario Monicelli] b&w

1958

La prima notte/Venetian Honeymoon [Alberto Cavalcanti] Totalscope/c

1958

Rascel marine [Guido Leoni] Totalscope/c

1959

Nel blu dipinto di blu/Volare [Piero Tellini] b&w

1959

Vento del Sud/South Wind [Enzo Provenzale] b&w

1959

Il nemico di mia moglie/Il marito bello/My Wife's Enemy [Gianni Puccini] b&w

1959

I magliari [Francesco Rosi] b&w

1959

Urlatori alla sbarra/Metti, Celentano e Mina.../Howlers of the Dock [Lucio Fulci] b&w

1960

Un mandarino per Teo [Mario Mattoli] Totalscope/c

1960

I delfini/The Dauphins [Francesco Maselli] vv/b&w

 

[Next to camera/black jacket] with Michelangelo Antonioni [next to him],

Jeanne Moreau & Marcello Mastroianni - "La notte"

 

1960

La notte/The Night [Michelangelo Antonioni] Panoramica/b&w

1960

Crimen/...And Suddenly It's Murder!/Criminals/Killing in Monte Carlo [Mario Camerini] Totalscope/b&w

1961

Il carabiniere a cavallo [Carlo Lizzani] b&w

1961

Salvatore Giuliano [Francesco Rosi] b&w

1961

Eva/Eve [Joseph Losey] b&w; uncred ph Venice FF seq: Henri Decaë; filmed November 1961-January 1962

 

[Left/glasses] with M. Antonioni [left of camera],

Alain Delon and Monica Vitti - "L'eclisse"

 

1962

L'eclisse/[The] Eclipse [Michelangelo Antonioni] b&w

1962

8½/Otto e mezzo [Federico Fellini] b&w

1962

I basilischi/The Lizards [Lina Wertmüller] b&w

1963

Le mani sulla città/Hands Over the City [Francesco Rosi] Panoramica/b&w

1963

La ragazza di Bube/Bebo's Girl [Luigi Comencini] vv/b&w

1963

Gli indifferenti/Time of Indifference [Francesco Maselli] b&w

1963

Alta infedeltà/High Infidelity [seg 'Gente moderna/Modern People' dir by Mario Monicelli] b&w; 4 seg; other ph: Ennio Guarnieri (3 seg)

1964

La donna è una cosa meravigliosa [seg 'La balena bianca' dir by Mauro Bolognini] b&w + c (animated interludes); 4 seg; other ph: Otello Martelli

1964

Oggi, domani, dopodomani/Kiss the Other Sheik/The Man, the Woman and the Money [seg 'La moglie bionda' dir by Luciano Salce] p/b&w-c; 3 seg; other ph: Aldo Tonti & Mario Montuori

 

[With camera] with dir Francesco Rosi - "Il momento della verità"

 

1964

Il momento della verità/The Moment of Truth [Francesco Rosi] ts/c; cph: Pasqualino De Santis & Aiace Parolin

1964

Giulietta degli spiriti/Juliet of the Spirits [Federico Fellini] Panoramica/c

1965

Il morbidone/The Dreamer [Massimo Franciosa] Panoramica/c; cph: Giuseppe Aquari

1965

La decima vittima/The Tenth Victim/The 10th Victim [Elio Petri] c

1965

The Honey Pot/It Comes Up Murder/Mr. Fox of Venice/The Honeypot [Joseph L. Mankiewicz] c; finished by (uncred) Pasquale De Santis; prod was started by doph Piero Portalupi

 

 FILMS AS CAMERA ASSISTANT/OPERATOR

1941

Fari nella nebbia [Gianni Franciolini & Marco Elter] co-c.asst; ph: Aldo Tonti

1942

Un colpo di pistola/A Pistol Shot [Renato Castellani] co-c.asst; ph: Massimo Terzano

1942

Ossessione [Luchino Visconti] co-c.asst; ph: Domenico Scala & Aldo Tonti

1945

Roma, città aperta/Rome, Open City [Roberto Rossellini] co-c.asst; ph: Ubaldo Arata

1945

Paisà/Paisan [Roberto Rossellini] co-c.asst; ph: Otello Martelli

1946

Caccia tragica/The Tragic Hunt/The Tragic Pursuit [Giuseppe De Santis] co-c.asst; ph: Otello Martelli

1947

La terra trema [: Episodio del mare]/The Earth Trembles [Luchino Visconti] c.op; ph: G.R. Aldo

1949

La beauté du diable/La bellezza del diavolo/Beauty and the Beast/Beauty and the Devil [René Clair] c.op; ph: Michel Kelber

1950

Miracolo a Milano/Miracle in Milan [Vittorio De Sica] c.op; ph: G.R. Aldo