Piccioni, Giuseppe 1953-

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PICCIONI, Giuseppe 1953-

PERSONAL: Born July 2, 1953, in Ascoli Piceno, Italy.

ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o 01 Rai Cinema & Studio Canal Distribution S.r.l., Piazza Adriana, 12, 00193 Rome, Italy.

CAREER: Director and screenwriter. Work as film director includes Il Grande Blek, 1987; Chiedi la luna, Titanus, 1991; Condannato a nozze, 1993; Cuori al verde, 1996; Fuori dal mondo, Entertech Releasing, 1999; Luci dei miei occhi, 01 Distribution, 2001. Film appearances include Il Cielo e sempre piu blu, 1995.

AWARDS, HONORS: Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists Promotional Silver Ribbon, 1988, for Il Grande Blek; A.F.I. Fest Audience Award and Grand Jury Prize, Chicago International Film Festival Golden Hugo, Montreal World Film Festival Special Grand Prize of the Jury, and David di Donatello Award for Best Screenplay, all 1999, and Mons International Festival of Love Films Audience Award, 2000, all for Not of This World; Venice Film Festival Sergio Trasatti Award, 2001, for Light of My Eyes.

WRITINGS:

(With Gualtiero Rosella and Lucia Zei) Fuori dal mondo (screenplay, also known as Not of This World), Entertech Releasing, 1999.

(With Umberto Contarello and Linda Ferri) Luce dei miei occhi (also known as Light of My Eyes), Rai Cinema, 2001.

Author of screenplays, including Il Grande Blek, 1987; Chiedi la luna (also known as Ask for the Moon), Titanus, 1991; Condannato a nozze (also known as Condemned to Wed), 1993; and Cuori al verde (also known as Love, Money, and Philosophy and Penniless Hearts), 1996.

SIDELIGHTS: Not of This World, which Italian film director Giuseppe Piccioni cowrote and directed, is the story of three characters: Catarina, a nun who finds an abandoned baby; Ernesto, the laundromat owner who may be the baby's father; and Teresa, the young girl who, as the viewer discovers, is the baby's mother. Catarina finds the baby wrapped in a blanket, and a glance at a dry-cleaning tag on the blanket leads her to the establishment owned by Ernesto, a man so married to his work that he has seemingly lost all feeling for his fellow humans.

This act of sleuthing on the part of Catarina is only the beginning of a process whereby the characters unfold with subtlety before the viewers' eyes. A single scene of Teresa flinching as she hugs her stepfather, for instance, reveals volumes regarding the background of abuse and pain that led her to unwed pregnancy and the abandonment of her baby. Likewise a photograph of Ernesto with his arm around a woman, uncovered accidentally by Catarina, tells much about who he once was.

Beneath Piccioni's subtext is a still deeper layer, wherein lies the central relationship of the tale: that between Ernesto and Catarina. This is "Not a romance in any conventional sense," as Deborah Hornblow pointed out in the Hartford Courant, yet it "nevertheless plays like one as . . . two individuals nearly unconscious of their own desires, are pulled together like magnets." Things can only go so far, of course, given the fact of Catarina's vows, yet the viewer is led to the sense that she is ambivalent about those vows, and reluctant to let go of the baby once her maternal instinct has been awakened.

In Light of My Eyes, another film directed and cowritten by Piccioni, circumstances once again bring characters together. This time, a good-natured driver named Antonio almost hits a young girl named Lisa, and as a result meets her emotionally distant mother, Maria. A romance between Antonio and Maria ensues, but though she remains cold to him, he agrees to pay her debt to a small-time gangster, Saverio, by serving as chauffeur to the loan shark.

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

BOOKS

Contemporary Theatre, Film, and Television, volume 33, Gale (Detroit, MI), 2001.

PERIODICALS

Hartford Courant (Hartford, CT), June 29, 2001, Deborah Hornblow, review of Not of This World, p. D6.

New York Times, February 25, 2000, Elvis Mitchell, review of Not of This World, p. B33.

Variety, December 2, 1991, Derek Elley, review of Ask for the Moon, p. 90; November 1, 1993, David Rooney, review of Condemned to Wed, p. 44; April 1, 1996, David Rooney, review of Penniless Hearts, p. 56; April 5, 1999, David Rooney, review of Not of This World, p. 34; September 17, 2001, David Rooney, review of Light of My Eyes, p. 25.

Village Voice, February 29, 2000, Nico Baumbach, review of Not of This World, p. 118.*

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