Italian film director leaps to death

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Mario Monicelli
Rome, Nov 30: Cancer-stricken Mario Monicelli, the celebrated Italian film director took his own life leaping from the fifth-floor balcony of a Rome hospital. He was 95.

Monicelli was honoured with the Career Golden Lion achievement award at the Venice Film Festival in 1991. He directed around 65 films with industry stalwarts including Marcello Mastroianni, Sophia Loren, Vittorio Gassman, Alberto Sordi and Anna Magnani. His notable films were "I Soliti Ignoti," (Big Deal on Madonna Street), "The Great War," "For Love and Gold," and the "My Friends".

An outspoken commentator of his country's misgivings, Monicelli was highly critical of Silvio Berlusconi's haphazard leadership.

Born in 1915 in Viareggio, central Italy Tuscany region, he emerged as the front runner in what can be considered the golden age of Italian cinema. Monicelli's father Tomaso Monicelli, a well-known journalist and anti-facist, committed suicide in 1946.

Carlo Verdone, one of Italy's most popular comedy movie stars, said Monicelli suffered in old age because he was no longer able to work. Monicelli himself said in an earlier interview, “Death doesn't frighten me, it bothers me".

Former Rome mayor Walter Veltroni and founder of the Rome Film Festival remembered Monicelli as "an extraordinary man" with "a sharp sense of irony, and the constant desire to make an important statement.''

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