Marina Cicogna, a film producer and one of the first women to enter the traditionally male cinema environment in Italy, died on Saturday in Rome. She was 89.
Cicogna produced several important Italian films, including Metti, una Sera a Cena by Giuseppe Patroni Griffi and Add a quote to the soprano of Ogni Sospetto (Investigation into a citizen above suspicion) by Elio Petri, the latter winning the Oscar for best foreign-language film in 1971. The New York Times called her “one of the most powerful women in European cinema.”
Her extraordinary experience and career were told in the documentary in 2021 Marina Cicogna. Life and everything else by Andrea Bettinetti and in her autobiography, Ancora Speroreleased this year by Marsilio Publishing.
Cicogna died with Benedetta Gardona, her companion of more than 30 years, at her side.
Ahead of receiving this year’s 2023 David Award for Lifetime Achievement, Cicogna spoke with THR Rome about her life, her films, her bond with Florinda Bolkan, the Film Academy and the parties “that haven’t been able to take place since ’68.” And when she was a woman in the golden age of cinema, she said, “Yes, the desire to take you down was all there.”
Marina Cicogna Mozzoni Volpi di Misurata, born May 29, 1934 in Rome, was an actress, photographer and screenwriter. Her grandfather was Count Giuseppe Volpi, who was president of the Venice Biennale and founder of the 1932 Venice Film Festival, after whom the Volpi Cup is named.
Growing up between Milan, Venice, Cortina and Rome, she had visited the world of dolce vita. After graduating from Sarah Lawrence College in New York (Marguerite Yourcenar was one of the professors), Cicogna attended a photography school, but it was her friendship with Jack Warner’s daughter that introduced her to Hollywood, where her paintings included Marilyn Monroe Met. and Lauren Bacall on the set of How to Marry a Millionaire (1953).
With Euro International Films, bought by her family and managed by her brother Bino, who committed suicide in 1971, Cicogna distributed in Italy a large number of films, from Sidney Lumet’s L’uomo del Banco dei Pegni (1964) after Luis Buñuel Bella di Giorno (1967) until the production of her first film, Metti, una Sera a Cena.
More of the successful films she distributed were included Theorema to Medea by Pier Paolo Pasolini; La Classe Operaia in Paradiso by Petri; Uomini control by Francesco Rosi; Mimì Metallurgical ferito nell’onore; Film d’amore en anarchy by Lina Wertmüller; Brother Sun, sister Moon by Franco Zeffirelli; And Once upon a Time in the West by Sergio Leone.