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Lino Capolicchio (1943-2022)

The actor, screenwriter, and director Lino Capolicchio, 78, died last week in Rome. Born in Merano and raised in Turin, he moved to Rome, where he attended the ‘Silvio D’Amico’ National Academy of Dramatic Art. The film that marked his career was The garden of the Finzi Contini (1971), based on the novel by the Italian writer Giorgio Bassani and directed by Vittorio De Sica, which won the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival and the Oscar for foreign feature film. For the unforgettable role of Giorgio, the actor won a Donatello acting award.
“In my career – he said to Pagine Ebraiche visiting the exhibition ‘The garden that is not there’ at the MEIS – I have received about five thousand letters from admirers from all over the world. Once a fan from Japan wrote to me, saying she was ready to come to Rome to marry me… And almost all of them had fallen in love with me for the character of Giorgio”. “In an unexpected way, The garden of the Finzi Contini had transformed us into icons, objects of desire, fixing us forever in the collective imagination”.
The premiere of the film took place in Jerusalem. “One evening – continued Capolicchio – I found myself having dinner with Moshe Dayan, the Minister of Defense, and sitting next to Prime Minister Golda Meir. Then, after looking at me several times, she said: ‘Excuse the question, but are you Jewish? Because in the film it really seems so”. ‘After a moment of embarrassment, I replied that I wasn’t aware of it, but that I was always trying to get deeper into the roles, to document myself “. As a matter of fact, the actor added, “to get ready for the role, I had asked several questions to one of De Sica assistants, Giorgio Treves, who was Jewish “. And many of the things “that I learned from him and from Bassani – he concluded – have become part of me”.