Franco Indovina - An Author, more than a Director
by Gregorio Napoli
Whilst one's soul bleeds, damaged by the memory of all those friends
one has lost, even the funeral oration rite enhances the uselessness
of all human gestures. Franco Indovina, one of the many victims
of the Punta Raisi air crash, was without doubt one of the most
interesting and 'personal' voices of our film industry. He left
Palermo, many years ago, full of enthusiasm, carrying an exemplary
cultural baggage and full of passion for 'his' art; a passion that
had evolved during his time at the Michelangelo Antonioni school.
This is no time to be giving any judgement on the outcome of such
directing ability, which detached itself from the routine of our
'young' production with dignity, style and compassion towards its
characters, with a touch of intellectualism that at the right moment
knew how to bring a touch of intelligent 'gloss' to a certain contemporary
style. Alongside the great director from Ferrara, he left his imprint
in works such as L'Avventura and L'eclisse, during the early sixties.
Antonioni himself convalidated his debut, agreeing to sign the 'preface'
of a film done in three episodes: 'I tre volti' (1964), interpreted
by the ex-princess Soraya, to whom Indovina was sentimentally attached.
The episode 'Latin Lover', a subject of extensive debate amongst
critics, was directed by Indovina and interpreted by Soraya and
Sordi: a story about an American multimillionaires who, whilst holidaying
in Rome, accepts the courtship of an Italian 'tough guy', regularly
patented with a proper international agency. A weak story, but 'guided'
with good taste and above all the careful style which identified
Indovina. His second film, Menage all'Italiana was not a happy event.
The young author though proved to be genuinely interested in 'live'
society news, in those days full of events regarding a 'collector'
of wives, and although very commercial, the venture served its purpose
y asserting an uncommon ability in directing a demanding and guarded
actor like Ugo Tognazzi. In the meantime, a personal spirituality
was evolving with this director dedicated to pure entertainment.
Sissignore (1968) was an obvious and positive indication of this
change: directed by Ugo Tognazzi, the film revealed a noticeable
quality of observation, with special care given to the consistent
vices related to our culture. Indovina will reach a stylistic maturity
with his next film 'Giochi Particolari' (1970), in which he portrays
the spiritual crisis of a certain type of 'bourgeosie', impersonated
by an aristocratic 'peeping Tom' who through the use of a camera
descends into the abyss of skepticism and cynical amorality. 'Tre
nel mille' (1971), brings this evolution to a feeling of completion
by presenting a group of characters, humiliated by success, thrown
into the crude reality of medieval customs in which symbolically,
all the evil, shameful and disabuse suffered, and to be suffered
by humble people is epitomized. From a commercial point of view
it was not an extremely successful film, but from it transpired
a person of considerable personality, who could have without doubt
offered us stimulating psychological films. Who knows how many projects
Franco had in mind; how many plans projected towards constant improvement,
for the sake of 'his' art to which he had dedicated his entire being.
Sadly his dreams were shattered against a rocky mountain.