2008 – First IMAGO Honorary Member
IMAGO proudly presents a review on LUCIANO TOVOLI’s career. First of all because having done extraordinary films he is a reference to cinematographers; secondly, because IMAGO owes its existence to TOVOLI.
An institution like IMAGO was on TOVOLI’s mind long before it actually happen : in 1981, along with Gabriele Lucci and Nestor Almendros , he created the International Festival of Cinematographers in L’Aquila , Italy. This was TOVOLI’s first effort to bring Cinematography to the spotlight and an attempt to make this art, visible to an audience. Eleven years later, in 1992, LUCIANO TOVOLI decided to dedicate his energy and ability to create the European Federation of National Cinematographers Associations . During a Cinematographers reunion in Rome, December 1992, he actually succeeded in doing so and AIC (Italy), AFC (France), BSC (UK) and BVK (Germany) were the first founding IMAGO members. After that he has organized the Cinematographer’s Day at the Palm Springs International Film Festival www.psfilmfest.org .
Creating IMAGO was an important idea not only to bond European cinematographers associations but also to European film industry itself. By creating IMAGO, TOVOLI has grasped and predicted a concept that only now is starting to be a tendency: the demands of film and media European market stress not only the existence of national institutions but also of European institutions able to defend and promote their interests in an European context. IMAGO was TOVOLI’s ground-breaking idea and it’s IMAGO’s mission to make the best of it.
Today, we gladly assert that IMAGO is an existing, active and growing association, working to be able to face the profound changes that are now taking place in European film market.
LUCIANO TOVOLI (b. 1936, Tuscany – Italy) has first studied Foreign Languages at the UniversitÃ di Pisa having then, between 1956 – 58 , completed his degree at the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia .
In 1960, at 27 yeas-old, he shoots his first long feature Banditi a Orgosolo / Bandits of Orgosolo , with Vittorio De Seta (b. 1923, Italy) as both Director and main DoP . (De Seta was a Cinematographer/ Writer/ Director. After shooting Banditi a Orgosolo has dedicated himself completely to Writing and Directing). This film was an important first work for it has won Best B&W Cinematography, awarded by the Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists (1962), and also Best First Work award by Venice Film Festival (1961).
Again in 1969, he collaborates once more with Director Vittorio De Seta in L’ Invitata / The Uninvited (1969) , a film co-written by legendary Tonino Guerra. This time, TOVOLI was the only one responsible for Cinematography, working with colour for the first time.
Several Italian and French production collaborations follow including collaborations with directors Franco Brusati ( Pane e cioccolata / Bread and Chocolate (1973)), Dino Risi ( Mordi e fuggi / Dirty Weekend (1973)) and Michelangelo Antonioni . Antonioni and TOVOLI have their first collaboration for a television documentary on China, Chung Kuo – Cina (1972), shot shortly after Antonioni’s Oscar nomination for his highly acclaimed and awarded film, Blow Up (1966). In 1975 their first film collaboration takes place with Professione : reporter/ The Passenger [http://www.sonyclassics.com/thepassenger/index_ content.html ] (1975) featuring Jack Nicholson and Maria Schneider. The film wins several awards and nomination in Italy, France, Spain and Denmark, including TOVOLI’s first career award granted by the Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists.
This decade, TOVOLI also works with directors Peter Fleischmann, Juan Luis BuÃ±uel (son of Luis BuÃ±uel ), Luigi Comencini , Marco Ferreri , Valerio Zurlini ( Il Deserto dei Tartari / The Desert of the Tartars (1976)), Walerian Borowczyk having also his first collaboration with Dario Argento in Suspiria (1977).
Opening the eighties decade, TOVOLI works again with Michelangelo Antonioni in a film adaptation of a Jean Cocteau’s play Il Mistero di Oberwald / The Oberwald Mystery (1981). The following year, another collaboration with director Dario Argento takes place in Tenebre (1982).
In 1983 TOVOLI does cinematography for an interesting and unusual biographical television documentary Tempo di viaggio / Voyage in Time (1983) featuring both legendary screenwriter Tonino Guerra and director Andrei Tarkovsky . The documentary is filmed during scouting locations for Tarkovsky’s film Nostalghia (1983), and features both talented men, making it a rare film piece.
During the eighties, TOVOLI also works with others directors like Carlo Verdone , Maurice Pialat , Francis Veber , Nanni Moretti ( Bianca (1984)) and Georges Lautner ( La Cage aux folles 3 – ’ Elles ’ se marient , La/ Cage aux Folles 3: The Wedding ) (1985).
Closing the decade he collaborates for the first time with highly awarded Italian director Ettore Scola , first in Splendor (1989) and then again in Che ora Ã¨?/ What Time Is It? (1989). For the first film title TOVOLI wins his second career award by the Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists (1989); and for the second film title, out of a 4 wins and 1 nomination total, one of them is TOVOLI’s third career award granted by Venice Film Festival (1989).
In 1983 TOVOLI directs his own project, sharing the Cinematography with Giuseppe Tinelli in film title Il Generale dell’armata morte / The General of the Dead Army (1983), adapted from an Ismail Kadare’s novel. Writing credits belong to TOVOLI, to the respected and experienced screenwriter Jean-Claude CarriÃ¨re and also to awarded and legendary Italian actor Michel Piccoli (also featuring the film).
The nineties are the beginning of a lasting collaboration between TOVOLI and American director Barbet Schroeder, first in Reversal of Fortune (1990), followed by TOVOLI’s first all American production Single White Female (1992) and then again in Kiss of Death (1995), Before and After (1996) and Desperate Measures (1998).
Ettore Scola also continues to be a presence in TOVOLI’s carrer with Il Viaggio di Capitan Fracassa / The Voyage of Captain Fracassa (1990), a film that has 4 wins and 2 nominations, including, once again, Best Cinematography award for TOVOLI by David di Donatello Awards (Italy), 1991. A second collaboration between Scola and TOVOLI follows in film title Mario, Maria e Mario (1993) both directed and written by Scola.
Another collaborations happen with Italian directos Franco Amurri and Francis Veber .
Closing the nineties decade, the ’ Da Vinci’ Award award is granted to TOVOLI by Palm Springs IFF (2001) for his collaboration in Hollywood production Titus (1999) directed by Julie Taymor.
TOVOLI keeps his partenership with French director Francis Veber (1986, 1996, 1998) with Le Placard/ The Closet (2001) and Tais-toi !/ Ruby & Quentin (2003).
Also with American director Barbet Schroeder: Murder by Numbers (2002).
Back in Italy he collaborates with directors Claudia Florio ( Regina degli scacchi / Check and Mate (2001)), Francisco JosÃ¨ Fernandez ( Ti voglio bene Eugenio / I Love You Eugenio (2002)), Piero Livi (Maria si (2004)) and Carlo Marcucci ( Vicino al fiume (2004)). This last film title directed by debutant Carlo Marcucci has TOVOLI also as co-writer.
In 2007, TOVOLI has completed his most recent film title L’Amour cachÃ© / Madre e ossa (2007) by Alessandro Capone. The film is an Italian production, spoken in French language, featuring Isabelle Huppert.
TOVOLI was awarded by Montecatini Filmvideo – International Short Film Festival, in 2004, with Career award.
Cinematographer LUCIANO TOVOLI is therefore an acclaimed professional and a ground-breaking personality in film industry. Besides having done more than 60 films during his 44 years career as Cinematographer , he has conceived and implemented IMAGO’s concept and most recently created Cinematographer’s Day – an event-concept.
TOVOLI was IMAGO’s first honorary member and is currently, an AIC (Italy)/ASC (USA) member. Recently he was made Honorary Member of the fsf ( FÃ¶reningen Sveriges Filmfotografer / The Swedish Society of Cinematographers (Sweden).
Once, President of AIC – Associazione ltaliana Autori della Fotografia CinematogrÃ¡fica (Italian Society of Cinematographers), he is now dedicated to his own film development company, Blue Sky Sviluppo s.r.l ., founded in 2005 with offices in Rome and Palm Springs. He is also head of Cinematographer’s Day Organizing Committee and, as always, a working Cinematographer.
Diana Soeiro, 2008