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Italian cinema 'giant' Ermanno Olmi dies aged 86

News Desk

Agence France-Presse

Rome, Italy  /  Tue, May 8, 2018  /  02:19 am
Italian cinema 'giant' Ermanno Olmi dies aged 86

In this file photo taken on September 5, 2008 Italy's director Ermanno Olmi poses with his Golden Lion for lifetime achievement at the 65th Venice International Film Festival in Venice Lido. Olmi, 86, died at the Asiago hospital on May 6, 2018 announced Italy's Culture Minister. (AFP/Damien Meyer)

Palme d'Or winning director Ermanno Olmi has died at the age of 86 after a long battle with illness, the Italian Culture Ministry announced on Monday.

The Italian director, most famous for his film The Tree of Wooden Clogs which won at the Cannes Film Festival in 1978, passed away in Asiago, near Venice. He had long suffered from Guillain–Barre syndrome, a muscle-weakening condition that can immobilize people for extended periods of time.

"The death of Ermanno Olmi deprives us of a giant, one of the great maestros of Italian cinema," Culture Minister Dario Franceschini said.

"He was a deep intellectual who explored the mysteries of man and recounted, with the poetry that characterizes his work, the relationship between man and nature."

Read also: Award-winning Italian filmmaker Vittorio Taviani dies

Born in Bergamo in northern Italy in 1931, Olmi was a self-taught neo-realist filmmaker who produced a host of short films, documentaries and features. 

His most acclaimed, The Tree of Wooden Clogs, was a depiction of the life of four poor peasant families in Lombardy at the end of the 19th century and is considered an important work of Italian cinema. 

Al Pacino named it when asked by the American Film Institute about his favourite films of all time in 2010.

Olmi also won the Golden Lion at the 1988 Venice Film Festival for The Legend of the Holy Drinker, an adaption of the eponymous 1938 novella written by Austria novelist Joseph Roth.

Two decades later He was awarded the Honorary Golden Lion at Venice.

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