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Italo screenwriter Tonino Guerra dies

Thrice Oscar-nommed scribe worked with Antonioni, Fellini

Prolific Italian screenwriter and poet Tonino Guerra, who was nominated for three Oscars and worked with many top Italian and international film directors, including Michelangelo Antonioni, Federico Fellini, Andrei Tarkovsky and Theo Angelopoulos, died Wednesday in his native Santarcangelo di Romagna. He was 92.

After becoming a published poet in 1946 with verses he wrote in a German prison camp, Guerra began his screenwriting career in Rome with helmer Giuseppe De Santis on 1956 neorealist drama “Men and Wolves.” He would earn screenplay credits on more than 100 films.

Three years later Guerra penned “L’avventura” with Antonioni, starting a long collaboration that continued with “La notte” and “L’eclisse,” which form a trilogy with their first work, and then “Red Desert,” “Blow-Up,” “Zabriskie Point,” all the way up to “Beyond the Clouds” in 1995 and to Antonioni’s last work, “Eros,” in 2004.

In 1973 Guerra began working with Fellini on “Amarcord,” continuing their artistic partnership on Fellini’s “And the Ship Sails On” and “Ginger and Fred.”

He was Oscar-nommed for Mario Monicelli’s comedy “Casanova 70,” “Blow-Up” and “Amarcord.”

Known for his versatility and poetic sensibility, Guerra worked with Francesco Rosi on, among other films, stark gangster pic “Lucky Luciano” in 1974 and with revered Russian auteur Tarkosky on his 1983 “Nostalghia,” which was shot in Italy.

In 1984 Guerra won the Cannes Film Festival screenplay nod for “Voyage to Cythera,” by Greek helmer Angelopoulos, which interweaves contempo Greek history and ancient myth. They also collaborated on “Landscapes in the Mist,” “Eternity and a Day,” “Ulysses’ Gaze” and “The Dust of Time.”

“Tonino had a unique gift for creating images; he was not a technical screenwriter,” said helmer Marco Bellocchio, who worked with Guerra on “Henry IV” in 1984. “Instead, he was a real artist with a fertile imagination and a genius for storytelling that is becoming ever more rare in the film world these days.”

Guerra was honored by the Venice Film Festival with a lifetime achievement award in 1994 and won the Writers Guild of America West’s Jean Renoir Award for Screenwriting Achievement last year.

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