Cacucci, Pino 1955–
Cacucci, Pino 1955–
PERSONAL: Born 1955, in Italy.
ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, St. Martin's Press, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010.
CAREER: Author and journalist.
San Isidro futbol, Metrolibri (San Lazzaro di Savena, Bologna, Italy), 1991.
Tina (biography), Interno giallo (Milan, Italy), 1991, translation by Patricia J. Duncan published as Tina Modotti: A Life, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1999.
Punti di fuga, Mondadori (Milan, Italy), 1992.
La polvere del Messico, Mondadori (Milan, Italy), 1992.
Forfora: e altri racconti, Granata Press (Bologna, Italy), 1993, revised edition published as Forfora: e altre sventure, Feltrinelli (Milan, Italy), 1997.
In ogni caso nessun rimorso, Longanesi (Milan, Italy), 1994.
Camminando: icontri di un viandante, Feltrinelli (Milan, Italy), 1996.
Demasiado corazón, Feltrinelli (Milan, Italy), 1999.
Ribelli!, Feltrinelli (Milan, Italy), 2001.
Mastruzzi indaga: piccole storie di civilissimi bolognesi nella Bologna incivile e imbarbarita, Feltrinelli (Milan, Italy), 2002.
Oltretorrente, Feltrinelli (Milan, Italy), 2003.
Contributor to anthologies, including I delitti del Gruppo 13, Metrolibri (Bologna, Italy), 1991.
SIDELIGHTS: Italian journalist and author Pino Cacucci made his entry into American publishing with the translation Tina Modotti: A Life, a biography chronicling the intriguing life of the multi-talented Modotti. Tina Modotti (1896–1942) first attracted the public's attention with her work as an artist, both as a minor actress and a photographer of some talent. Despite gaining fame for her photography, Modotti gave up her art to become a fighter for social justice, a cause that she pursued as a member of the Communist Party. Cacucci primarily focuses on this latter phase of her life and describes her days as a photographer as "a means, a transition." He also devotes much of his book to Modotti's many love affairs. In some cases, her romantic relationships were nearly as famous as her social causes, and she once even referred to men as her "profession."
Cacucci lists the succession of Modotti's relationships beginning with a young poet named Robo and moving on to her liaison with famous photographer and mentor Edward Weston, Cuban revolutionary Julio Antonio Mella, and her final affair, with Soviet operative Vittorio Vidali. Cacucci shows how Modotti balanced her yearnings to create art with her desire to affect social change. "I am forever struggling to mold life according to my temperament and needs," Modotti once wrote in a letter to Weston that is quoted in the book. "In other words, I 'put too much art in my life'—too much energy—and consequently I have not much left to give to art."
Much of the information in Cacucci's book, which was translated from its original Italian by Patricia J. Duncan, was culled from the personal papers and memoirs of Vidali. Modotti devoted herself to Vidali and learned how to operate as a Communist Party member. After changing her name and appearance, she hopped from one major city to another, including Berlin, Paris, and especially Moscow, during a sixyear period. Cacucci explains how she accomplished a wide variety of tasks for the party, including writing political treatises, working as a spy, and even doing basic clerical work. She was also a main player in the building of the Moscow subway system. Cacucci also discusses the tumultuous political events that were taking place around Modotti, including the debates and infighting within the Communist Party, as supporters of Trotsky clashed with those of Stalin. Although he spends little time on Modotti's upbringing in Italy, Cacucci does recount her final years, during which she labored as a hospital administrator and propagandist during the Spanish Civil War, and ultimately settled in Mexico City, where she died at age forty-six.
Critical response to Tina Modotti was not overly positive. Library Journal reviewer Rebecca Miller felt Cacucci's portrayal of Modotti made her look like "a frail social climber," while Ted Loos, who reviewed the work for the New York Times Book Review, deemed it "bumpily translated." New Criterion contributor Stephen Schwartz also faulted the book for its "inept translation and a complete lack of fact-checking," but added that Cacucci "understands the full horror of Modotti's life, a life devoted to power over others."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Library Journal, April 15, 1999, Rebecca Miller, review of Tina Modotti: A Life, p. 82.
New Criterion, October, 1999, Stephen Schwartz, review of Tina Modotti, p. 70.
New York Times Book Review, May 2, 1999, Ted Loos, review of Tina Modotti, p. 24.