Showing posts with label 1992. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 1992. Show all posts

12 April 2019

Giorgio Cantarini - actor

Child star of Oscar-winning Life Is Beautiful

Cantarini's performance as Roberto Benigni's son in Life Is Beautiful captivated cinema audienced
Cantarini's performance as Roberto Benigni's son in Life Is
captivated cinema audiences
Giorgio Cantarini, who delivered an award-winning performance in the triple Oscar-winning movie Life Is Beautiful when he was just five years old, was born on this day in 1992 in Orvieto.

Cantarini was cast as Giosuè, the four-year-old son of Roberto Benigni’s character, Guido, in the 1997 film, which brought Academy Awards for Benigni as Best Actor and, as the director, for Best Foreign Film. For his own part, Cantarini was rewarded for a captivating performance in the poignant story with a Young Artist award.

Three years later, in Ridley Scott’s Oscar-winning blockbuster Gladiator, Cantarini was given another coveted part as the son of Russell Crowe’s character, Maximus.

Born to parents who separated soon after his fifth birthday, Cantarini went to an audition for the part of Giosuè after an uncle read a description in a newspaper article of the kind of child Benigni wanted and told him he was a perfect match.

Cantarini remains a close friend of the director Roberto Benigni (above)
Cantarini remains a close friend of
the director Roberto Benigni (above)
Cantarini recalled in an interview in 2018 that the audition consisted simply of a conversation with Benigni, with no acting involved. Once shooting began, he was told what to do on a scene-by-scene basis.

Despite the success of Life Is Beautiful and Gladiator, and the acclaim he received, Cantarini went back to school with no thought of becoming an actor when he grew up. His ambition was to become a footballer. Once he was in high school, however, his friends and teachers convinced him he should not let his acting talent go to waste.

After appearing in a small number of films and tv dramas - plus an appearance on the the popular tv show Ballando con le Stelle - he joined hundreds of hopefuls in applying for a place at the prestigious Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia - the national film school - in Rome and to his surprise and delight was accepted as one of just six boys and six girls to be admitted in 2012.

After graduation, he was immediately cast in the lead role of AUS- adotta uno studente - Adopt a Student - the first online-only series produced by Rai.

Following a period working in Paris, he returned to Italy in 2016 to perform, direct and produce Harold Pinter's play The Dumb Waiter for theatres in Rome and Vicenza, in collaboration with his friend and colleague, Miguel Gobbo Diaz.

Giorgio Cantarini today
Giorgio Cantarini today
In 2017, he played the lead role in Il dottore dei pesci - The Fish Doctor - an Italo-American short film directed by Susanna Della Sala, which was presented at numerous film festivals in Europe and Canada.

At the beginning of 2018 he moved to New York to study at the New York Film Academy and later in the year  was selected for the cast of Lamborghini - the Legend, directed by Bobby Moresco, filmed in Italy and starring Antonio Banderas and Alec Baldwin.

Cantarini’s home in Italy is in Viterbo in Lazio, where his mother and brother Lorenzo live. He remains in touch with Roberto Benigni, who provided a reference for his application for a visa to work in the United States.

Travel tip:

Orvieto, where Cantarini was born, is a small city in Umbria with a population of just 20,000, built on the top of a cliff of volcanic tuff stone. Surrounded by defensive walls built by the Etruscans, it makes an imposing sight. Situated about 120km (75 miles) north of Rome, it boasts one of Italy’s finest cathedrals in Italy - the Cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta - with a stunningly beautiful Romanesque Gothic facade inlaid with gold mosaics fronting a building constructed from alternate layers of black and white marble.  The city’s medieval streets are known as a cultural paradise - busy with cafés and restaurants, bookshops, artisans' workshops and antique emporia.

Travel tip:

Viterbo, where Cantarini now lives when in Italy, is the largest town in northern Lazio, situated about 80km (50 miles) north of Rome. It is regarded as one of the best preserved medieval towns in Italy, with many buildings in the San Pellegrino quarter featuring external staircases. The town’s impressive Palazzo dei Papi, was used as the papal palace for about 20 years during the 13th century. Completed in about 1266, the palace has a large audience hall, which connects with a loggia raised above street level by a barrel vault.

More reading:

How Life Is Beautiful turned Roberto Benigni into a household name

Dino De Laurentiis – the Campanian pasta seller helped make Italian cinema famous 

The brilliance of Life Is Beautiful cinematographer Tonino Delli Colli

Also on this day:

1710: The birth of the famed castrato opera singer Caffarelli

1948: The birth of World Cup-winning coach Marcello Lippi

1950: The birth of controversial entrepreneur Flavio Briatore


19 December 2016

Gianni Brera - football journalist

Outspoken writer who embellished Italian language

Football journalist Gianni Brera
Football journalist Gianni Brera
Italy's football world lost one of its most influential personalities on this day in 1992 when a car crash near the town of Codogno in Lombardy claimed the life of the journalist Gianni Brera.

Brera, who was 73, had enjoyed a long and often controversial career in which his writing was famous not only for its literary quality but for his outspoken views.

He could be savage in his criticisms of players and allowed reputations to count for nothing.  His long-running feud with Gianni Rivera, the AC Milan midfielder regarded by many as one of Italian football's all-time greats, in some ways defined his career.

Yet the positions he occupied in Italian football journalism gained him enormous respect.  He rose to be editor-in-chief of La Gazzetta dello Sport, Italy's biggest sports newspaper, before he was 30 and went on to write for Il Giorno, Il Giornale and La Repubblica among the country's heavyweight news dailies.

The intellectual La Repubblica for many years considered sport to be too trivial to be worthy of coverage, an attitude that persisted even through the 1970s. But the style and innovative brilliance of Brera's writing was a major factor in persuading them to drop their stance.

Famously, Brera introduced new words to the Italian language in his efforts to convey to his readers the things that he saw on the field in front of him and pass on his own interpretation of the game.

AC Milan star Gianni Rivera had a long-running feud with Brera
AC Milan star Gianni Rivera had a
long-running feud with Brera
For example, it was Brera who coined the term libero for the player designated as "sweeper" in the catenaccio defensive formation that dominated Italian football in the 1950s and 60s, and deemed that the players who could no longer be described as half-backs or inside forwards as the game moved away from the traditional 2-3-5 formation would be known in future as centrocampisti - midfielders.

Brera would also invent nicknames for players to amuse his readers.  He dubbed Rivera Abatino - the "little abbot" - and hailed the old-fashioned centre forward Luigi 'Gigi' Riva as Rombo di tuono - the "rumble of thunder".

He was a lifelong advocate of the ultra-defensive tactics characterised by the catenaccio system, and part of his antipathy towards Rivera stemmed from his belief that creative talents such as his were luxuries the game could do without.

Most of Brera's heroes were defenders and where many writers would enthuse about goals scored as moments of beauty in a match, Brera tended to see them as aberrations, the unwanted consequence of flawed defending.  His idea of perfection was a match in which the forwards were players of a manly vigour that constantly tested the defenders but which ultimately ended 0-0.

His spats with other journalists were also legend, most notably with the Neapolitan writer Gino Palumbo, a proponent of attacking play and therefore philosophically at odds with Brera.  The two once engaged in a punch-up in the press box before a match in Brescia.

The Arena Civica in Milan was renamed Arena Gianni Brera
The Arena Civica in Milan was renamed Arena Gianni Brera
At the same time, though, he enjoyed playing host to fellow journalists, players and coaches at his 'Thursday club' at a restaurant in central Milan, where he lived for much of his working life.

To avoid accusations of bias in debates about Milan's rival clubs, Brera always claimed he was a supporter of Genoa, Italy's oldest football club.

Born in 1919 in the village of San Zenone al Po, which sits on the banks of the River Po around 25km south-east of Pavia, Brera was the son of a tailor and barber, but his humble stock belied a considerable intellect, which he demonstrated in obtaining a degree in political sciences from the University of Pavia while simultaneously serving with a parachute division of the Italian army.

He regarded himself as Padanian rather than Italian and was vehemently anti-Fascist, fighting on the side of the Italian resistance towards the end of the Second World War, although proudly proclaiming later that he never fired a shot at a fellow human being.

After his death, Milan's monumental Arena Civica, the stadium conceived as the city's Colosseum by Napoleon I in the early 19th century, was renamed Arena Gianni Brera.

The Castello Visconteo is an attraction for visitors to Pavia
The Castello Visconteo is an attraction for visitors to Pavia
Travel tip:

The elegant Lombardy city of Pavia is renowned for its university, which is regarded as one of the best in Italy and numbers among its alumni the explorer Christopher Columbus and the poet and revolutionary Ugo Foscolo.  Among its important historic buildings are the well preserved 14th century Castello Visconteo, a Duomo dating back to the 15th century and the impressive Lombard-Romanesque church of San Michele Maggiore, which was completed in 1155.

Travel tip:

The Arena Gianni Brera in Milan, formerly known as the Arena Civica, can be found in the Parco Sempione behind the Castello Sforzesco. It is one of Milan's main examples of neoclassical architecture, an elliptical amphitheatre commissioned by Napoleon soon after he became King of Italy in 1805. At one time the home of the Milan football club Internazionale, it is nowadays a venue for international athletics and rugby union as well as being the home of Milan's third football team, Brera Calcio FC.

More reading: