The controversial yet brilliant Italian-born director Gillo Pontecorvo is perhaps best known for authoring The Battle of Algiers (1966). This ingenious film — with its use of docudrama techniques and stark black-and-white photography to capture the French-Algerian conflict — instantly became the toast of the Venice Film Festival and a seminal classic. A militant leftist and lifelong member of the Communist Party, Pontecorvo stirred up controversy and indignation for years with his extremist sociopolitical views. Cinematically, the extreme infrequency with which Pontecorvo crafted motion pictures (with years of inactivity between projects) renders him one of the least prolific international directors of five-star caliber in modern history, placing him in the same camp as Terrence Malick.
Born in Pisa, Italy, on November 19, 1919, to a Jewish family (with nine brothers and sisters and an industrialist father), young Gillo cut against the grain of familial tradition; the rest of… read more