Italian movie director Franco Zeffirelli dies at 96


After a career spanning more than 60 years, Franco Zeffirelli, one of the most respected Italian filmmakers, died alive after “a disease that has tortured him for a long time and has worsened in recent months” – as he has said France Fresse news agency. The acclaimed artist also celebrated as a director of the film, theater, and opera, lived 96 years. He died in Rome on Saturday, June 15th.

Zeffirelli, born in Florence on February 12, 1923, focused his career on the desire to make culture accessible and enjoyable to the widest range of audiences – sought inspiration in literary names; has produced opera performances for the television audience. He has worked with famous voices, such as Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo, and Maria Callas, but also with Hollywood first-person stars: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Mel Gibson, Cher, and Judi Dench.

With Burton and Taylor, he released, in 1967, The Taming of the Shrew, considered to be one of the most successful productions in which the two great actors played together. A year later, Brother Sun, Sister Moon (Fratello sole, Sorella moon) released a film depicting the life of Saint Francis of Assisi in parables. The adaptation of Shakespeare’s play, Romeo and Juliet – launched in 1968, with Leonard Whiting and Olivia Hussey – enriched him. He reached a box office record in the United States; at a budget of $ 1.5 million, the film earned $ 52 million and became one of the most successful adaptations of a Shakespeare piece ever made.

In 1977, religious themes replaced the romantic theme. Production for television, Jesus of Nazareth, with Robert Powell in the central role, has quickly entered the classical productions, thanks to the Savior’s relevant and realistic portrayal. Broadcast across the globe, the film has earned over $ 300 million. The year 1981 was to bring another box office success – Brooke Shields Endless Love.

His life experiences, especially those related to the Second World War, were included in 1991’s semi-biographical production, Tea with Mussolini. In 2002 he released another biographical film, this time having the center of the famous opera singer Maria Callas (part of the Callas Forever production shot in Bucharest).

From the film, it is worth mentioning the three films based on opera performances: La Traviata, Cavalleria Rusticana, and Pagliacci, as well as the films Otello (1986), Hamlet (1990), Storia di Una camera (1993), Jane Eyre ).

“I’m not a film director,” Zeffirelli said in an interview in 2006. “I’m a director who uses different tools to express his wishes and tell his stories – to make people dream.”

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