Sergio Amidei - Writer





Writer. Nationality: Italian. Born: Trieste, 30 October 1904. Career: 1924—stage actor in Turin; 1926—entered films as assistant director for Brignone; 1935—first film as writer, Don Bosco. Died: Rome, 14 April 1981.

Films as Writer:

1935

Don Bosco (Allessandrini)

1938

Il conte di Brechard (Bonnard) (uncredited); Pietro Micca (Vergano)

1939

Lotte nell'ombra (Gambino); Cose dell'altro mondo (Malasomma); Traversata nera (Gambino)

1940

La notte delle beffe (Campogalliani); Arditi civili (Gambino); Popo divorzieremo (Malesomma); La fanciulla di portici (Bonnard) (uncredited)

1941

Cuori nella tormenta (Campogalliani); Il prigioniero di Santa Cruz (Bragaglia); Il pozzo dei miracoli (Righelli); L'ultimo ballo (Mastrocinque)

1942

Giungla (Malasomma); La regina di Navarra (Gallone); Gioco pericoloso (Malasomma); Don Cesare di Bazan (Freda); Il figlio del corsaro rosso (Elter); La bisbetica domata (Poggioli); Harlem (Gallone)

1943

Gli ultimi filibustieri (Elter); Gelosia (Poggioli); Tristi amori (Gallone); T'amerò sempre (Camerini)

1944

Addio, amore! (Franciolini); Il cappello da prete (Poggioli)

1945

Roma città aperta ( Open City ) (Rossellini)

1946

Paisà ( Paisan ) (Rossellini); Sciuscià ( Shoeshine ) (De Sica); Cronoca nera (Bianchi)

1947

Fatalità (Bianchi); L'altra (Bra gaglia); Germania, anno zero ( Germany, Year Zero ) (Rossellini)

1948

Anni difficili ( Difficult Years ) (Zampa); Ladri di biciclette ( The Bicycle Thief ) (De Sica); La macchina ammazzacattivi (Rossellini); Sotto il sole di Roma ( Under the Sun of Rome) (Castellani)

1949

Patto col diavolo (Chiasrini); Stromboli, terra di Dio ( Stromboli ) (Rossellini)

1950

Domenica d'agosto ( Sunday in August ) (Emmer); Vita da cani (Steno and Monicelli)

1951

Parigi è Sempre Parigi (Emmer)

1952

La ragasse di Piazza di Spagna ( Three Girls from Rome ) (Emmer)

1953

Anni facili ( Easy Years ) (Zampa); Destini di donne ( Daughters of Destiny ) (Pagliero); Villa Borghese ( It Happened in the Park ) (Franciolini)

1954

Cronache di poveri amanti (Lizzani); Le signorine dello 04 (Franciolini); Terza liceo (Emmer); Secrets d'alcove ( Il letto ; The Bed ) (Decoin and others); Die Angst ( La paura ; Fear ) (Rossellini)

1955

Picasso (Emmer—doc); Il bigamo ( The Bigamist ) (Emmer)

1956

Una pelliccia di visone (Pellegrini); Racconti romani ( Roman Tales ) (Franciolini); Peccato di castità (Franciolini)

1957

Il momento più bello ( The Most Wonderful Moment ) (Emmer)

1958

Racconti d'estate ( Love on the Riviera ; Summer Tales ) (Franciolini)

1959

Il Generale Della Rovere ( General Della Rovere ) (Rossellini); Viva l'Italia! (Rossellini)

1961

Fantasmi a Roma (Pietrangeli)

1962

Anni rugenti (Zampa); Copacabana Palace ( Girl Game ; The Saga of the Flying Hostesses ) (Steno); Una domenica d'estate (Petroni)

1963

Il processo di Verona (Lizzani)

1964

La fuga (Spinola); Liolà ( A Very Handy Man ) (Blasetti); La vita agra (Lizzani)

1966

Fumo di Londra (Sordi); Scusi, lei e favorevole o contrario? (Sordi)

1967

Maigret a Pigalle (Landi); Cinq gars pour Singapour (Toublanc-Michel) (Italian version only)

1968

Colpo di sole (Guerrini); Il medico della Mutua (Zampa)

1969

Il Prof. Guido Tersilli, primario della clinica Villa Celeste convenzionato con le mutue (Salce)

1970

Il presidente del Borgorosso Football Club (Filippo d'Amico)

1971

Detenuto in attesa di giudizio ( Why? ) (Loy)

1972

La più bella serata della mia vita (Scola)

1973

Anastasia nio fratello (Steno)

1977

Un borghese piccolo piccolo (Monicelli)

1979

Le Temoin (Mockey)

1981

Storie di ordinaria follia ( Tales of Ordinary Madness ) (Ferreri)

1982

La Nuit de Varennes (Scola)

Films as Assistant Writer or Assistant Director:

1926

Maciste all'inferno (Brignone); Maciste nella gabbia dei Leoni (Brignone); Beatrice Cenci (Negroni); Transatlan-tisches (Righelli)

1927

Il carnevale di Venezia (Almirante)

1928

Gli ultimi zar (Negroni); La compagnia dei Matti (Almirante)

1933

Les Aventures du roi Pausole (Granowsky)

1934

Les Nuits moscovites (Granowsky)

Publications


By AMIDEI: book—


Open City, Paisan , and Germany, Year Zero (scripts), in Roberto Rossellini: The War Trilogy , edited by Stefano Roncoroni, New York, 1973.

By AMIDEI: article—


Positif (Paris), April 1982.


On AMIDEI: articles—

Cinema Nuovo (Turin), 25 August 1955.

Revista del Cinematografo (Rome), June 1981.

Positif (Paris), April 1982.

Codelli, Lorenzo, "A invencao no Mercado Central," in Filme Cultura , January-April 1984.

Filmcritica (Siena), December 1990.


* * *


Roma città aperta ( Open City ) probably owes more to Sergio Amidei, one of its writers, than to its director, Roberto Rossellini. Amidei either directly experienced many of the events recreated in the film (the escape from German soldiers over the rooftops of Rome, sitting in a café with his romantic interest during an air raid), or witnessed them (the murder of a pregnant woman by soldiers while protesting an arrest). Further, he was probably responsible for the idea of combining two different stories he was working on with Rossellini and fellow writer Federico Fellini—one story based on the exploits of resistance priest Don Giuseppe Morosini and another about the partisan activities of Roman children against the Germans. And the landlady who warned him of the arrival of the German soldiers, as well as the young woman with whom he shared the air raid, both reprised their roles in the film.

Amidei and Rossellini were already close friends when they set to work on this project, and would work together on several other films over the next fifteen years before becoming estranged after the director commented negatively on Il Generale Della Rovere ( General Della Rovere ) in 1959. Their collaboration includes the other two films of Rossellini's "War Trilogy," Paisà ( Paisan ) and Germania, anno zero ( Germany, Year Zero ). This trilogy, together with De Sica's Sciuscià ( Shoeshine ) and Ladri di biciclette ( The Bicycle Thief ), to whose screenplays Amidei also contributed, are considered to be the central texts of the neorealist movement.

Amidei was much more politically committed than Rossellini or Fellini, but he joined them in their desires to move beyond the constraints of neorealist theory. Amidei collaborated with Rossellini on most of his films made with Ingrid Bergman, films generally greeted with howls of protest from Italian leftists at their apparent selling out of previously shared principles. Amidei's later work included comedies of manners, satires, and even fantasy ( La macchina ammazzacattivi , begun but not completed by Rossellini) with younger directors such as Mario Monicelli and Marco Ferreri.

Amidei has, perhaps facetiously, described his work in these terms, "I'm a worker. Someone comes, asks me for something—a miniature, a fresco, a portrait, a country scene, a still life—and I do what I can. I'm like a Titian, a 16th-century artist (admitting the differences!)."

—Stephen Brophy

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