Gianni Amelio (born 20 January 1945) is an Italian film director.
Amelio at the 49th Venice International Film Festival (1992)
Amelio was born in San Pietro di Magisano, province of Catanzaro, Calabria. His father moved to Argentina soon after his birth. He spent his youth and adolescence with his mother and his grandmother. The absence of a paternal figures will be a constant in Amelio's future works.
During his university studies of philosophy in Messina, Amelio got interested in cinema, writing as film critic for a local magazine. In 1965 he moved to Rome, where he worked as operator and assistant director for figures such as Liliana Cavani and Vittorio De Seta. He also worked for television, directing documentaries and advertisements.
Amelio's first important work is the TV film La città del sole, directed in 1973 for RAI TV and inspired to Tommaso Campanella's work. This was followed by Bertolucci secondo il cinema (1976) a documentary about 1900 shooting, and the thriller Effetti speciali. Two years later he directed the mystery La morte al lavoro, which won prizes at Locarno and Hyères festivals. Il piccolo Archimede of 1979 was also critically acclaimed.
In 1982 he debuted for cinema proper with Colpire al cuore ("Shoot in the Heart"), about Italian terrorism, presented at the Venice Film Festival. In 1987 Amelio released I ragazzi di via Panisperna, about the lives of 1930 Italian physicists such as Enrico Fermi and Edoardo Amaldi, which won the award for best screenplay at the Bari Film Festival. 1989's Porte aperte (Open Doors), featuring Gian Maria Volonté, confirmed Amelio's status as one of Italy's best film directors and won a nomination as Best Foreign Film at 1991 Academy Awards. The film received also 4 Felix, 2 Silver Ribbon, 4 David di Donatello and 3 Golden Globes awards.
Also successful was Il ladro di bambini (Stolen Children) in 1992, which won the Special Prize of Jury at the 1992 Cannes Film Festival plus two Silver Ribbon and 5 David di Donatello. In 1994 Lamerica, about Albanian immigration in Italy, repeated the fate and the success, with 2 Silver Ribbons and 3 Davids. Four years later, Così ridevano won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival. Amelio gained another Silver Ribbon as best director for Le chiavi di casa (The Keys to the House), inspired to a novel by Giuseppe Pontiggia, of 2004.
Amelio was a member of jury at the Cannes Film Festival in 1995. In 2006 he released his eighth feature film, La stella che non c'è, featuring Sergio Castellitto. From 2009 to 2012 he has been director of Torino Film Festival, Turin.
Amelio came out as gay late in life, shortly before the release of his 2014 documentary Happy to be Different.
- La città del sole (1973, TV)
- Effetti speciali (1974, TV)
- Bertolucci secondo il cinema (1976, TV)
- La morte al lavoro (1978, TV)
- Il piccolo Archimede (1979, TV)
- I velieri (1980, TV)
- Colpire al cuore (1982)
- I ragazzi di via Panisperna (1987)
- Porte aperte (Open Doors) (1989)
- Il ladro di bambini (Stolen Children) (1992)
- Lamerica (1994)
- Così ridevano (1998)
- Le chiavi della casa (The Keys to the House) (2004)
- La stella che non c'è (2006)
- Le Premier Homme / Il primo uomo (The First Man) (2011)
- L'intrepido (2013)
- Felice chi è diverso (Happy to Be Different) (2014)
- La Tenerezza (2017)
- Academic article on Lamerica, See link: https://www.academia.edu/3379912/Inside_the_Beasts_Cage_Gianni_Amelios_Lamerica_and_the_Dilemmas_of_Post-1989_Leftist_Cinema
- Raccontare i sentimenti. Il Cinema di Gianni Amelio, a cura di Sebastiano Gesù, Giuseppe Maimone Editore, Catania 2008 ISBN 978-88-7751-274-1