Tonino Guerra


“My poems were an essence of images. They had the cinema inside them before I started working for it.”

A quote from Tonino Guerra, in a New York Times obituary about an extraordinary life. Guerra, the prolific screenwriter, poet, novelist and artist, died on Wednesday in northern Italy, at age 92.

Among others, he collaborated with Michelangelo Antonioni, Federico Fellini, Andrei Tarkovsky, and Theo Angelopoulos, and wrote Antonioni’s famous trilogy L’Avventura, La Notte, and L’Eclisse as well as Fellini’s 1973 classic Amarcord.

Son of a fishmonger father and an illiterate mother (whom Guerra himself taught to read and write), he was a poet initially and received his first film credit at age 36, and he continued to work into his eighties. “I believe I have given a little bit of poetry to all the directors I worked with,” he’d said.

Kevin Nolan writes essays and fiction. More from this author →