Tonino Guerra
Guerra in 2011
Antonio Guerra

(1920-03-16)16 March 1920
Died21 March 2012(2012-03-21) (aged 92)
Santarcangelo di Romagna, Italy
Occupation(s)Writer, poet, screenwriter

Antonio "Tonino" Guerra[1] (16 March 1920 – 21 March 2012) was an Italian poet, writer and screenwriter who collaborated with some of the most prominent film directors in the world such as Andrei Tarkovsky, Michelangelo Antonioni, Theo Angelopoulos, and Federico Fellini.[2]

Life and work

Guerra was born in Santarcangelo di Romagna.[3] According to his obituary in The Guardian, Guerra first started writing poetry when interned in a prison camp in Germany, after being rounded up at the age of 22 with other antifascists from Santarcangelo. The Guardian wrote: "To pass the time he told his companions stories: when he came home in 1945 he found a publisher for a book of them, I Scarabocc (Cockroaches, but also 'scribblings')."[3] At 30, he moved to Rome and worked as a schoolteacher.[3] During this time he met Elio Petri, the future director of Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion (1970), who worked as assistant to Giuseppe De Santis. Guerra was able to get his first screenwriting credit after he and Petri went to the Abruzzi mountains to find out about wolf-hunting; "Though they discovered that wolf hunters no longer existed, De Santis went ahead anyway with the film, Uomini e Lupi (Men and Wolves, 1957)".[3]

Although a follower of Cesare Zavattini,[4] who essentially defined the style and morals of Italian neorealism, Guerra deviated from his mentor: while Zavattini brought the directors with whom he collaborated over to his own social and moral speculation, Guerra went to the filmmakers and helped them advance their own concept.[citation needed] He worked with such filmmakers as Michelangelo Antonioni, in L'Avventura, La Notte, L'Eclisse, Red Desert, Blowup, Zabriskie Point and Identification of a Woman; Federico Fellini, in Amarcord; Theo Angelopoulos, in Landscape in the Mist, Eternity and a Day and Trilogy: The Weeping Meadow; Andrei Tarkovsky, in Nostalghia and Voyage in Time; and Francesco Rosi, in The Mattei Affair, Lucky Luciano, Illustrious Corpses and Christ Stopped at Eboli.

In 1990, Guerra in collaboration with Giovanni Urbinati to create the exhibition “La Cattedrale dove va a dormire il mare/The Cathedral where the sea goes to sleep” [5] at the deconsecrated church in Budrio near Bologna. In 1995, he was awarded with an Honorable Diploma at the 19th Moscow International Film Festival.[6]

Selected filmography




  1. ^ Lim, Dennis (23 March 2012). "Tonino Guerra, Italian Screenwriter and Poet, Dies at 92". The New York Times.
  2. ^ Lane, John Francis (21 March 2012). "Tonino Guerra obituary". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 4 November 2023.
  3. ^ a b c d John Francis Lane (21 March 2012). "Tonino Guerra obituary | Culture". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 24 March 2012.
  4. ^ "Tonino Guerra". Retrieved 4 November 2023.
  5. ^ Fonte: La Cattedrale dove va a dormire il mare/The Cathedral where the sea goes to sleep.
  6. ^ "19th Moscow International Film Festival (1995)". MIFF. Archived from the original on 22 March 2013. Retrieved 16 March 2013.