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Alessandro Blasetti Dies At 86

February 2, 1987

ROME (AP) _ Movie director Alessandro Blasetti, who pioneered cinema realism in Italy, died Monday at a Rome hospital. He was 86.

He directed his first movie in 1929 and often was said to have made the most important films of the fascist era.

Blasetti was taken to the San Giacomo Hospital last Tuesday after a fall at his home and died early Monday with his daughter Maria by his side, hospital officials said. The cause of death was not announced.

Nilde Jotti, president of the lower house of Parliament, said Blasetti had ″profoundly renewed the Italian cinema in the most difficult moment of this century for Italian culture. We all owe a lot to him and no one will forget his very important role in Italian and European culture.″

After graduating from law school, Blasetti worked as a journalist and film critic before starting a cooperative to make movies. The first of his 35 films was ″Il Sole″ (The Sun), released in 1929, which told the story of social conflict in the Pontine Marshes south of Rome.

Critic and film maker Alberto Cecchi wrote of Blasetti’s debut: ″For the first time in Italian cinema, villains were real villains, workers were workers, marshes were marshes and the climate humid and foggy as it really is in the Pontine area.″

Four years later Blasetti directed his most celebrated work, the epic ″1860,″ recounting the conquest of Sicily by Giuseppe Garibaldi in his campaign to create the Italian nation.

Using non-professional actors, Blasetti depicted Garibaldi’s conquest as seen through the eyes of two peasants.

In 1942, he began to work with Cesare Zavattini, one of the most important realist scripwriters. The result was ″Quattro Passi Fra Le Nuvole″ (Four Steps in the Clouds), a view of a bourgeois family.

Blasetti directed most of the great stars of the Italian screen, including Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni in the 1955 film, ″La Fortuna di Essere Una Donna (The Luck of Being a Woman), and Vittorio De Sica in ″Altri Tempi″ (Other Times), in 1952.

He collaborated on most of the scripts and appeared in some of his movies. He was given the Golden Lion Award at the 1982 Venice Film Festival in recognition of his career.

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