‘Blowup’ lenser dies in Rome at 79

Di Palma's work includes 11 Allen titles, 'Red Desert'

Carlo Di Palma, Italian director of photography who collaborated with Woody Allen on films such as “Hannah and Her Sisters” and “Husbands and Wives,” died in Rome on Friday after a long illness. He was 79.

The son of a camera repairman, Di Palma’s career took off in his native country after his lavish color work on Michelangelo Antonioni’s 1964 “Red Desert” made a deep impression. Di Palma additionally lensed for Antonioni on the visually powerful film “Blowup” (1966).

Di Palma was born in Rome and studied at the city’s Centro sperimentale di cinematografia. He began work as a camera assistant, moving up to director of photography working alongside Italian helmers such as Luchino Visconti (“Ossessione,” 1943), Roberto Rossellini (“Rome, Open City,” 1945) and Vittorio De Sica (“Bicycle Thief,” 1948).

Di Palma worked with Pietro Germi on the noir comedy “Divorce, Italian Style,” with Ettore Scola on his film “Jealousy, Italian Style” and on Bernardo Bertolucci’s “Tragedy of a Ridiculous Man.”

Di Palma’s style grew out of the post war sensibility prevalent in Rome.

The lenser eventually tried the director’s chair with 1972’s “Teresa la ladra” (Teresa the Thief), one of three films he made with Italian star Monica Vitti.

Di Palma worked with Allen on 11 titles including “Radio Days,” “Shadows and Fog,” “Manhattan Murder Mystery,” “Everyone Says I Love You,” and “Deconstructing Harry.”

Di Palma did not limit himself to lighting film sets. In his native Italy he is famous for his unusual approaches to lighting city squares like Florence’s Piazza della Signoria.

Di Palma is survived by his wife, film distribution exec Adriana Chiesa.

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