It's very difficult to write good, true things, you need, to find them, to work as a spectator. When the cinema translates these sometimes more obscure truths, I feel I am more involved, as it questions me, it makes me think, helping me to see the world and understand what life and truth are all about. These things aren't so easy to decode.
Tonino Guerra in an interview with Laura Barbieri
Tonino Guerra is one of the most important screenwriters in the history of film making. He has worked with some of the greatest Italian film
directors gods, including Michelangelo Antonioni, Federico Fellini and Vittorio De Sica. He has also worked with preeminent European directors, including Russia's Andrei Tarkovsky and Greece's Theo Angelopoulos. What separates Guerra from other screenwriters is his unique approach to the working relationship between writer and director. According to one biography, Guerra acts as more than just collaborator on his projects, but as a guide/confessor to the director. In the end, he becomes a co creator, enabling the director to reach further and deeper into his vision. His flexibility and ego sacrificing technique have helped give birth to some of the world's cinematic masterpieces.
Guerra was born in Sant'Arcangelo, Italy, south of Ravenna on March 16, 1920. He started his career by writing short stories and poetry and his first screenplay was written with the collaboration of Elio Petri and Giuseppe De Santis. Men With Wolves was directed by De Santis in 1957. In 1960, Guerra began working with Michelangelo Antonioni with whom he created some of the most important and landmark films. Their first project, L'Avventura nearly caused a riot at the Cannes Film Festival but was awarded the Grand Prize despite the controversy.
Many critics and film historians will tell you that L'Avventura changed film making forever.
Guerra continued working with Antonioni throughout the early 60's and was instrumental in the creation of The Alienation Trilogy. This trilogy is probably the most important contribution of Antonioni's to cinema and it is difficult to distinguish between screenwriter and director.
Guerra continued to work with Antonioni throughout his career, but also began a long series of collaborations with other famous directors. Perhaps his most commercially successful movie is Fellini's Amarcord, for which he was awarded an Academy Award for best screenplay (1975). Guerra has won numerous awards over the years including one for best screenplay at the Cannes Film Festival and the Silver St. George at the Moscow Film Festival for his contribution to world cinema.
The lack of biographical information I blame on my non-existant skills in Italian and the lack of information in English. I hope to make up for it with a nearly complete filmography, listed below.