The directing activities of the Taviani brothers performed “on 4 Hands" is almost unique case in the history of cinema in the last 50 years. It has led to the creation of 22 film works which won many international awards from Cannes, Berlin and Venice to Montreal, Moscow and many other prestigious festivals.
Vittorio (1929) and Paolo (1931) Taviani are born in small village in Tuscany, Italy.
They study art at the University of Pisa, and later turn to cinema, influenced by his meeting with the neo-realist drama Payza Roberto Rossellini. In 1954 the brothers shot their first of seven documentaries – Miniato, luglio '44, a story about the slaughter of many residents of their home village by the Nazis. Their debut feature film Un uomo da bruciare appeared in 1962, starring Gian Maria Volonte with his first main role.
Sharp and ruthless observers of the changes that rocked and form the Italian society, Paolo and Vittorio Taviani intertwine in their work history, psychological analysis and lyricism, highlighted by the influential music of Nicola Piovani, which turns the films into a kind of cinematographed operas where dreams and reality are closely related.
With their film I fuorilegge del matrimonio (1963) starring Ugo Tognazzi and Annie Girardot, the directing pair creates a bitter-sweet comedy with divorce as a subject, but the first major international success comes to them with the film Allonsanfan (1974) – an overlook of Italy in the years after the Napoleon and the failure of the erupted revolutionary unrest.
In 1977, taking up the story of the harsh fate of Sardinian boy brought up by his father shepherd with a rare brutality. The story of Padre Padrone causes stormy discussion in Cannes, but won the jury to the degree to be awarded the "Golden Palm". The war theme, seen through the prism of childhood continues to excite the Taviani brothers in The Night of St. Lawrence (1982), which received the Special award of the jury of Cannes.
One of the greatest films directorial couples in cinema approach the social and political issues of their time with a poetic, rather than philosophical point of view, using the allegory in the past and future times. Utopia is both the essence of their work and the fundamental relationship that supports their film to the real world. It is hardly possible to describe how the Taviani brothers divide their tasks during shooting. While presenting the "Padre Padrone" in Cannes, one of them, responding to questions from journalists, delivers a humorous explanation: "We are like cappuccino ... It's hard to tell where the coffee ends and where the milk begins!”
In 1987 Paolo and Vittorio leave shortly from Italy to USA to shoot Good Morning Babylon, satirical and energetic mural of Hollywood society from the time of Griffith. As big fan of the Pirandello’s work, Taviani brothers screened many of his stories in both parts of the film Chaos (1984 and 1998). Among the actors they have worked with are Marcello Mastroianni, Isabella Rossellini, Nanni Moretti, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Isabelle Huppert, Michele Placido, Leticia Casta, Paz Vega. Their penultimate film The Lark Farm (2007) was shot in Bulgaria, with the participation of famous Bulgarian artists and tells the story of an Armenian family in Turkey during the 1915.
"Sometimes they wonder why we do movies. The answer is – in the name of love, to love and be loved by people who we do not know, and that will probably never meet”, admits Paolo, and Vittorio adds to this: “Cinema is my life, because without it I would be only a ghost and the relationships I have with other people would have dissolve in the mist”.
Fiction-documentary Caesar Must Die (2012) is the latest film by Taviani brothers, which won the "Golden Bear" at Berlinale 2012 and the Italian film award "David of Donatello." The rehearsals and performance of the play "Julius Caesar" by Shakespeare, played by prisoners with long sentences in prison Rebibiya in Rome, is the foundation of this concentrated, intense and powerful drama ... The film will be presented at the formal gala of the Italian film within the framework of Sofia Film Fest 2013 by the director Paolo Taviani and his wife Lina Neri Taviani – special guests at the 17th edition of the festival.
In 2013 Paolo Taviani received Sofia Municipality award for outstanding achievements in world cinema on behalf of his brother as well.