Suso Cecchi D'Amico

Presented by the Melbourne Cinémathèque & ACMI

Writing with Her Eyes: Suso Cecchi D’amico, Screenwriter as Observer

Film program


Wed 19 May – Wed 12 Jun 2024

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“I am not a poet. I am an artisan.” This humble self-assessment from legendary Italian scriptwriter Suso Cecchi d’Amico (1914–2010) is better understood when seen in the context of her next statement from a 1999 interview: “Cinema is not an art… it may be that it gives you that impression, but it is reality.” Despite a prolific career, collaborating on some of cinema’s greatest masterpieces with a number of its most revered auteurs, Cecchi d’Amico always maintained a journalistic conception of the medium. Born in Rome to artistic parents – her father Emilio spent time, during the 1930s, in charge of Italy’s largest film studio – Cecchi d’Amico drifted into screenwriting without a sense of vocation: “If we had as many newspapers and magazines… many of us would have become journalists instead of making films… we merely wanted to tell our stories about our experiences of that era.” Such an impetus informed the production of the neorealist classic Bicycle Thieves (1948), with Cecchi d’Amico wandering through Rome’s streets with Vittorio De Sica to gather incidents and characters to form the screenplay.

Never comfortable with the “neorealist” label – “it was only a little group of friends who just wanted to make films and went out into the streets to do so” (Cecchi d’Amico) – she went on to collaborate on over 100 films across a range of genres, maintaining decades-long partnerships with Luchino Visconti, Mario Monicelli and Luigi Comencini. Throughout these works, as well as in shorter stints writing with Michelangelo Antonioni, Franco Zeffirelli and Francesco Rosi, she maintained a commitment to creating “the best circumstances for the director”. She always worked with filmmakers she knew well and would tailor scripts to their vision and strengths. It’s in this sense that her view of herself as an artisan, crafting each screenplay to specification – whether antic comedy, spectacular epic, dense political thriller, character-driven drama, commercial vehicle for a legendary star or a film cast with non-actors – is particularly apposite. This season brings together key collaborations with Antonioni, Visconti, Monicelli, Valerio Zurlini and Rosi.

Presented in partnership with the Italian Cultural Institute


Cinema 1, Level 2
ACMI, Fed Square

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Films in this program (Wed 19 May – Wed 12 Jun 2024)

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