Pupi Avati

Pupi Avati

Pupi Avati in 2008
Born Giuseppe Avati
(1938-11-03) 3 November 1938
Bologna, Italy
Nationality Italian
Alma mater University of Bologna
Occupation Film director, film producer, screenwriter
Title Commendatore Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana[1]
Religion Roman Catholic

Giuseppe Avati, better known as Pupi Avati (born 3 November 1938), is an Italian film director, producer, and screenwriter. He is known to horror film fans for his two masterpieces of the macabre, The House with Laughing Windows (1976) and Zeder (1983).

Early life and career

Pupi Avati was born in Bologna in 1938.[2] After attending school and studying Political Science at the University of Bologna, he started working at a frozen food company. At the same time, he developed a passion for jazz, becoming a proficient clarinetist. In the second half of the 1950s, he formed and played in the Doctor Dixie Jazz Band, of which Lucio Dalla was also a member.[3]

Although he initially intended to be a professional musician, Avati felt he lacked the necessary talent. In the mid-1960s, he decided to dedicate himself to cinema after seeing Federico Fellini's and its portrait of the role of a director.[4] Avati's passion for music, as well as his love for his hometown, which was the setting of many of his films, were to become recurrent themes found in his productions.

His filmography as a director includes almost forty films and television works. As a screenwriter, Avati wrote or co-authored the majority of his movies, as well as screenplays for other directors. He cooperated on the script of Salò o le 120 giornate di Sodoma (Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom, 1976) directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini, even though he is not credited for it. He also produced several films for other directors and in his own work. Many of his movies are also produced by his brother Antonio Avati.

Avati began his career directing horror films and is considered one of the most notable Italian directors of this genre,[4] with titles including La casa dalle finestre che ridono (The House with Laughing Windows, 1976) and Zeder (1983), which are considered his masterpieces.

According to Avati, the TV series Jazz Band (1978), written about the story of the Doctor Dixie Jazz Band marked a turning point for his work. The subject of his movies began coming from his own experience, and his cinema became more nostalgic, introspective, and autobiographic. Moreover, the series was successful and brought Avati to the attention to a wider public compared to his previous films.[3]

Throughout his career, Avati successfully directed and produced many genres of film, including horrors, medieval period pieces, dramas, jazz comedies, buddy comedies, biopics and others, proving himself to be a versatile director.

During his career as a director, screenwriter, and producer, Avati was nominated for the Golden Palm, Silver Ribbons, David di Donatello Awards, and many others. He won two David di Donatello Awards and five Silver Ribbons.

Avati was nominated Commendatore Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana on 2 June 1995.[1]

He has presided over the Federico Fellini Foundation, created in 1995, in memory of the great Rimini-born director.

In 2008, Avati published his autobiography, Sotto le stelle di un film, edited by Il Margine.[5] Inspired by the autobiography of the director, in 2010, Claudio Costa made a documentary film of interviews and animations, called Pupi Avati, ieri oggi domani ("Pupi Avati, yesterday today tomorrow").


He started his career in the movies with two grotesque comical horror movies with surreal plots. The first was Balsamus, l'uomo di Satana (Blood Relations - "The Man of Satan") in 1968, one of the few films where the screenplay was not written by Avati. This film was followed a year later by Thomas e gli indemoniati (Thomas and the Bewitched, 1969), but it was never released in Italy.

In 1974, Avati made the bizarre La mazurka del barone, della santa e del fico fiorone (The Mazurka of the Baron, the Saint and the Early Fig Tree), a movie with an almost fairy-tale-like atmosphere in a style reminiscent of the movies of Federico Fellini. In 1975, his musical fantasy, Bordella (House of Pleasure for Women), caused a commotion resulting in some censorship.

In 1976, Avati directed the horror film, La casa dalle finestre che ridono ("House of Laughing Windows"), set in the Po Valley in Emilia–Romagna, which was appreciated by lovers of this genre. This movie was followed by Tutti defunti... tranne i morti (1977), a black comedy with a similar theme but written in a parodistic and farcical way.

Avati also directed several films and series for television. The previously mentioned Jazz Band was broadcast on RAI TV in 1978, followed by Cinema!!! in 1979, Dancing Paradise in 1982, Accadde a Bologna in 1983, and È proibito ballare in 1989.

In 1980, he wrote the screenplay for Macabro (Frozen Terror, or Macabre), the first movie directed by Lamberto Bava. This film was also produced by Avati.

In 1983, Avati directed the comedy, Una gita scolastica (A School Outing), and then another thriller-horror, Zeder, which was considered one of his best films in the genre. After Impiegati (1984), he made Regalo di Natale (Christmas Present, 1986), starring Diego Abatantuono in his first dramatic role. The sequel of this film was released in 2004 and titled Rivincita di Natale (Christmas Rematch).

His career continued in 1989 with Storia di ragazzi e di ragazze (The Story of Boys and Girls), which awarded him the Nastro d'Argento for Best Director and Script in 1990. Following that, he made the biopic, Bix in 1991, Magnificat in 1993, the thriller L'amico d'infanzia (The Childhood Friend) in 1994, and the horror L'arcano incantatore (The Mysterious Enchanter) in 1996 with Stefano Dionisi.

In 1995, he wrote the screenplay of the RAI TV miniseries, Voci notturne, directed by Fabrizio Laurenti.

In 1998, Avati filmed Il testimone dello sposo (The Best Man), followed by La via degli angeli (A Midsummer Night's Dance) in 1999 and I cavalieri che fecero l'impresa (The Knights of the Quest) in 2001. Two years later he directed the sentimental comedy Il cuore altrove (The Heart Is Elsewhere) with Neri Marcorè and Vanessa Incontrada in the role of a young blind woman. The film was nominated for a Golden Palm at Cannes Film Festival, and he received the David di Donatello Award for the Best Director.[6][7]

In 2005, he directed Vittoria Puccini, Paolo Briguglia, and Claudio Santamaria in the romantic comedy Ma quando arrivano le ragazze?. In the same year he directed Antonio Albanese, Katia Ricciarelli, and again Neri Marcorè in La seconda notte di nozze. In 2007, Diego Abatantuono, Francesca Neri, Ines Sastre, Vanessa Incontrada, and Violante Placido acted in Avati's film, La cena per farli conoscere, while Laura Morante acted as an Italian woman who takes over a disturbing building in Davenport, Iowa, in the horror, Il nascondiglio (The Hideout).

In 2008, Avati directed Il papà di Giovanna (Giovanna's Father), followed by Gli amici del bar Margherita (The Friends at Margherita Café) in 2009. Next, he directed Il figlio più piccolo ("The Youngest Son") in 2010 and Una sconfinata giovinezza ("A Boundless Youth") in 2011.


Films directed

TV productions

Written screenplays

Titles produced

Awards and nominations

Cannes Film Festival[6]

David di Donatello Awards[7]

Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists – Silver Ribbon

Venice Film Festival

Berlin International Film Festival

Brussels International Festival of Fantasy Film



Istanbul International Film Festival

Montreal World Film Festival

Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival

Sannio Film Fest – Capitelli d'oro

Valladolid International Film Festival[10]

See also


  1. 1 2 "Presidenza della Repubblica Italiana - Conferimento Onorificenze". Retrieved 2011-02-03.
  2. Poppi, Roberto (2002). I registi: dal 1930 ai giorni nostri (in Italian). Gremese Editore. ISBN 88-8440-171-2.
  3. 1 2 Isola, Simone (2002). Pupi Avati: il nascondiglio dei generi (in Italian). Sovera Edizioni. ISBN 88-8124-723-2.
  4. 1 2 Strada, Riccardo (2005). Il buio oltre lo schermo: gli archetipi del cinema di paura. Zephyro Edizioni srl. ISBN 88-8389-022-1.
  5. Avati, Pupi (2008). Sotto le stelle di un film. Il margine. ISBN 88-6089-034-9.
  6. 1 2 "Festival de Cannes - From 11 to 22 may 2011". Retrieved 2011-02-04.
  7. 1 2 3 4 5 "Accademia del Cinema Italiano - Premi David di Donatello". Retrieved 2011-02-04.
  8. Davies, Rebecca (2008-07-29). "Venice Film Festival 2008 line-up - Telegraph". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 2011-02-04.
  9. "Berlinale: 1998 Programme". berlinale.de. Retrieved 2012-01-01.
  10. "Valladolid International Film Festival - Archive". Retrieved 2011-02-04.
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