Program of films by Pupi Avati

The director for everyone

If we were to propagandistically define Avati’s program, then we would call
it something for everyone.

Giuseppe, or better known as Pupi, Avati, was born in 1938 in Bologna. Unlike
many others, who discovered or claimed to have discovered film at an early age,
Avati’s first love was jazz, and later he had many different jobs; for example
he was a traveling salesman. He discovered film as his optimal medium at the age
of thirty, in 1968 when he made his debut Balsamus, l’uomo di Satana in
which he freely and without restraints, some say even naively, showed his
tendency to the esoteric, supernatural, and black magic. In the 70’s he showed
his sympathy for horrors, so in 1976 he made a horror film La casa delle
finestre che ridono
. But, very soon in the 80’s it became evident that Avati
is interested in various themes that he expresses and wraps into different
genres. Because in the 80’s he returned to his first love – music - in his film
Aiutami a sognare (1980), TV film Jazz band (1981) and Dancing

But Avati also favors historical and biographical themes: Noi tre from
1984 is an episode from W. A. Mozart’s childhood, a story of a trip with his
father to Bologna to take an exam with the philharmonic orchestra. There, this
child prodigy, meets ordinary kids and one ordinary, but for him extraordinary,
girl. Naturally, the decision about the exam is suitable to his nickname.

They say that as you get older, you remember more things from your childhood and
birthplace. That might be true in the case of Pupi Avati because his film
Storia di ragazzi e ragazze
from 1989 is a nostalgic story of a village
wedding, imbued with rural elements, relationship to old values, especially a
sense of pride and honor from the 30’s.

But, years bring along certain seriousness. Avati’s most interesting, most
complex but also hermetic film is probably Magnificat from 1993. We take
an odd walk, similar to sleepwalking, through medieval Italy following two
executioners, one older and more experienced with the younger, student that the
older chose in a village in northern Italy. This is film of great poetics and
cruelty, beautiful scenes of nature and precise costumes, which includes
elements of paganism, Christianity, the sacred and profane. The nature is imbued
with human interventions: the executioner strangles a young girl in a river, and
a sinner’s body is cut up. If we were to propagandistically define Avati’s
program, then we would call it something for everyone. Because Avati deals with
soccer, in his film Ultimo minuto (1987), and also with poker in one of
the films shown in this program. One critic said this for his film Regalo di
: “After seeing this film, you will never want to play poker again”.
(Dario Marković)