Tinto Brass and Caterina Varzi at the 2009 Venice Film Festival
26 March 1933
|Spouse(s)||Carla Cipriani (1957 - 2006; her death)|
|Awards||Venice Film Festival:
Best Italian Film
1971. For La Vacanza.
Award of Excellence
2012. For Brass' early works.
Giovanni Brass (born 26 March 1933), better known as Tinto Brass, is an Italian filmmaker. Although Brass has experimented with a plethora of genres since the 1960s, he is noted especially for his work in the erotic genre, with films such as Caligula, Così fan tutte (released under the English title All Ladies Do It), Paprika, Monella (Frivolous Lola) and Trasgredire.
Throughout the 1960s and 1970s he created many avant-garde films, including Nerosubianco, L'urlo, and La Vacanza and in 1972, he was a member of the jury at the 22nd Berlin International Film Festival. However, he is best known for his later erotic epics, Salon Kitty, The Key, Senso '45 and Caligula. The latter film was an over-the-top contentious "collaboration" (read "contest") with celebrated author Gore Vidal, Franco Rossellini and Penthouse magazine publisher Bob Guccione. However, many consider Caligula not to be a true Tinto Brass film since post-production was not handled by Brass. The director demanded that his name be stricken from the credits after Guccione inserted hardcore sex scenes and recut much of the film's story and theme structure. Despite this, the film contains many of Brass' trademarks and remains his most widely viewed work (and the highest-grossing Italian film released in the United States). Well into his seventies, he continued to make films.
Brass' films follow an impressionistic style – they tend not to show immense landscapes, but bits and pieces of the scenery and peripheral characters and objects through pans and zooms, thus imitating how the viewer might see the events if they were actually present. This also gives the films an extraordinarily rapid pace. He often uses a television-like multicam method of shooting, with at least three cameras running at once, each focusing on something different.
There are many other directorial trademarks throughout his films. From 1976's Salon Kitty onwards, mirrors play a large part in the set design. Sometimes he even goes as far as to begin a scene with a mirror shot, then pan over to the action being reflected, giving a disorienting feeling. His erotic films – especially The Key, Miranda and All Ladies Do It – often accentuate women's ample buttocks and pubic hair as well as underarm hair, almost to the point of fetishizing those particular physical features.
Brass' films in the 1980s and early 1990s had mainly been adaptations of famous literary works usually in the erotic genre, namely The Key (La chiave), The Mistress of the Inn (Miranda), the novel Le lettere da Capri by Mario Soldati (Capriccio), the novel Snack Bar Budapest by Marco Lodoli and Silvia Bre (eponymous), Fanny Hill (Paprika), and the novel L'uomo che guarda by Alberto Moravia (The Voyeur), while 2002 film Senso '45 is an adaptation of Senso, previously filmed by Luchino Visconti.
Many of Brass works qualify as period drama set during World War II (Salon Kitty and Senso '45, set in Berlin and Asolo respectively), in postbellum Italy (Miranda and Capriccio), and in 1950s Italy (Paprika and Monella).
Brass almost always works in a cameo for his friend Osiride Pevarello and himself as well. He was also featured as the presenter in the direct-to-video erotic short films compilation Tinto Brass presenta Corti Circuiti Erotici released in four volumes in 1999.
From 1957 until her demise in 2006, Brass was married to Carla Cipriani ("Tinta"), the daughter of Harry's Bar founder Giuseppe Cipriani, who managed the restaurant Locanda Cipriani at Lido and also collaborated as a screenwriter in Brass's films. The couple had a daughter, Beatrice and a son, Bonifacio. Brass has directed only two short films (Kick the Cock and Hotel Courbet) following Carla's demise to date.
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