ROME Film director Dino Risi, who chronicled
the bittersweet and lighter side of Italy's post-war economic
boom, died on Saturday. He was 91.
Risi was known as one of the masters of the Commedia
all'Italiana (Italian comedy). He had been ill for some time
and died in a Rome residence where had lived for years.
Among the most famous of his more than 50 films were Poveri
ma Belli (Poor but Beautiful), Belle ma Povere (Poor Girl,
Pretty Girl) and Il Sorpasso (The Easy Life).
Il Sorpasso (1963) was the story of a hedonist played by
Vittorio Gassman who travels around Italy in a sports car with
a shy student played by Jean-Louis Trintignant.
His 1974 film Profumo di Donna (Scent of a Woman), won two
Oscar nominations. It told the story of an army captain left
blind by the war who tours Italy with an aide using his highly
developed sense of smell to identify types of women.
It was remade in the United States in 1992 in a version
starring Al Pacino.
In 2002 Risi was given the Golden Lion award for his career
at the Venice Film Festival.
He continued working into his 80s, joking about getting old
and the prospect of death.
"I am curious about death. I expect some surprises. Life,
after all, is not all it's made out to be," he told an
interviewer several years ago.
As he saw many of his friends and colleagues from the movie
world die before him, he once said: "There should be a law that
everyone dies at 80."
He was one of the directors who helped advance the careers
of stars such as Gassman, Sophia Loren, and Marcello
Risi was born in Milan into a well-to-do family. His father
was the doctor at the famed La Scala opera house.
He was left an orphan at the age of 12 and raised by
relatives and family friends.
Risi studied medicine and worked with directors including
Mario Soldati, Alberto Lattuada and Mario Monicelli before
directing his own films.
"His legacy is pages of minute work by someone who loved
the world and his country," said Rome Mayor Gianni Alemanno.
"We have lost one of the masters of the most beautiful and
intense seasons of the Italian comedy, which gave the world so