The name might not ring a bell, but Sergio Amidei’s scripting credits read like a greatest-hits list of postwar Italo classics. “Sergio Amidei. Portrait of a Writer in the Cinema” is a father-daughter collaboration between Ettore and Silvia Scola that headlines Amidei’s priceless contributions, although the formless cobbling together of footage and interviews feels undeservedly rushed. Still, the Scolas interview all the big names, and superb clips serve as reminders of Italian cinema’s past glories. Despite flaws, docu would do well paired at fests with some of Amidei’s masterpieces, and will make the perfect DVD extra.
Perhaps best known Stateside for his collaborations with Roberto Rossellini, Amidei was one of the founders of the Neo-Realist school, a genre born out of the rubble of war-torn Italy whose origins are discussed in terrific archival interviews with Pasolini, Moravia, and Zavattini. All the industry’s top names discuss Amidei’s revolutionary balancing of irony with entertainment, and his championing of the average Joe. Too much prominence is given to Amidei’s friendship with Fellini (they never worked together), however, while his early background is barely sketched. Inexplicably, an annoying jazz track overlays every interview.