Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Renato Polselli R.I.P

Renato Polselli, director of the amazing films Deliriumand Reincarnation of Isabelhas passed away. Sadly we at Worldweird know next to nothing about the man other than these two masterpieces and his interview in the BBC docu-series EUROTIKA! (which featured clips from some of his more obscure films which looked truly fabulous). But it is clear to us from this meager evidence that he was wild and unjustly neglected movie-genius. A born film-maker with a subversive mind and a visionary imagination. He will be missed, perhaps more than he ever knew, among those of us who treasure such unhinged talents and the amazing and defiantly odd works of art that they make.
Fortunately for all of us, our friend Wayne Maginn has spent the better part of a decade working on a biography of Polselli and a study of his films. He was the one who had the misfortune of passing on the sad news, which he broke on the Cinehound Forum just a couple of days ago. He posted a lovely obituary for the great autuer, which I re-post here, with his full permission.

The Maestro from Arce has passed away...

I am very saddened to have to report that yesterday, Renato Polselli passed away. I had been preparing a book on Renato since the late-1990s and had been aided in this by my close friend in Rome and also Renato himself. I had always hoped i could repay Renato's generosity over the years by one day soon taking a finished copy of the book over to him as the ultimate form of tribute. After on-and-off health issues over the past decade, that wish, something that both Renato and myself had been looking forward to for so long, was never to be. I had also hoped to get some further info to fill in gaps in his life that were unknown to many, and was planning to have the book complete sometime in 2007/2008. As things stand, the book will go ahead as planned and will simply have to leave some stones unturned. The man was an enigma in life and will remain somewhat of an enigma in his passing.

Renato was always generous with his time and also with providing materials and information for my pet-project. He knew i had invested so much money and time in the book that i would never ever come close to making enough to even approach profit in return. He knew, that i was making it purely out of admiration and respect and for that he was always gracious with whatever help he could provide and felt that i was not amongst the crop of journos and companies that had abused his trust, ripped him off or otherwise used him over the years (especially in recent years).

Renato cut his teeth filming documentaries before breaking into feature films. He had always been somewhat of a rebel. His material was often risque and landed him in hot water at every turn, with censors and distributors alike, but it was just as much his thematic content as his censor run-ins that destined his films and career to a life of obscurity. His work was often frustrating to many. To the many, he ws a 'hack'...a poor director with no vision. To the few, he was as much a misunderstood genius and thought-provoking auteur as Jess Franco. His career was full of ups and downs, but his films always bore something interesting in the way of content or technique that separated (and alienated) him/them from anything else being made in those periods. Unfortunately, a variety of bad decisions, censor problems, distribution mishaps and sometimes indifference, meant that much of his career's work vanished or was buried and has been left to gather dust in dark corners of forgotten film vaults dotted throughout time...

I am very upset of his passing, as is my friend, who was not only a close friend of Renato but who had also been proud to have Renato serve as his best man recently at his wedding.

Cult European cinema has lost one of its kost neglected and most peculiarly interesting directors, following hot on the heels of the passing of one of his most recognisable lead actors, Mickey Hargitay on the 14th. With the likes of Isarco Ravaioli and Bruno Vani passing away in recent years also, it is possible that a small portion of Italian cinema, about which very little is known in-depth, will remain so for all time...

R.I.P. Renato...you will be missed. Forgotten by some, always. But never forgotten by the few...

You can find more info about the maestro here.

13 comments:

Adam Polselli said...

Wow, just came across this while searching around Google.

My name is Adam Polselli and my grandfather, Eleuterio Polselli, was born in the same town as Renato (Arce, Italy) only three months earlier. Today, I too am a filmmaker and am very interested in finding out more about Renato. Thanks for honoring him.

Anonymous said...

when's the book out then Wayne? Long time coming!!!!

Codagee said...

Certainly is!

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Alex Bakshaev said...

Polselli is indeed a neglected,misunderstood at large auteur like Jess Franco.
His "Delirio Caldo" remains in my top10 European films of 20th century, and while at first I didn't quite accept his "Reincarnation of Isabel" ,it has grown on me over the years, and now I recognise it as an unsung masterpiece, beyond trash or art or anythhing else.

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Anonymous said...

Barking dogs never bite.

Anonymous said...

A book?

Anonymous said...

For a hamburger today i will gladly pay you tomorrow.
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Anonymous said...

So where is this book then?

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