GREAT CINEMATOGRAPHERS


#2: "L'argent" [1982]

#3: "Uomini contro" [1969]

 

   


PASQUALE DE SANTIS

 

Born: 24 April 1927, Fondi, Latium, Italy. A.k.a: Pasqualino De Santis.

Died: 23 June 1996, Львів [Lviv], Ukraine, during the filming of 'La tregua'.

Education: Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia [graduated in 1949].

Career: Started as c.asst with doph Piero Portalupi.

Ph commercials.

In 1995 he founded - with doph Giuseppe Lanci, his brother Giuseppe, a.o. - the Nuova Università del Cinema e della Televisione, Rome, Italy. The cinematography scholarship of the university is named after him. The B.A. Film Festival in Busto Arsizio, Italy, named the award for Best Cinematography the 'Premio Pasqualino De Santis'.

Was a member of the AIC.

His brother Giuseppe [1917-97] was a writer/director.

Awards: 'Oscar' AA [1968] & Golden Laurel Award 3rd place [1970] for 'Romeo and Juliet'; BAFTA Film Award [1972] for 'Morte a Venezia'; David di Donatello Award [1981] for 'Tre fratelli'; 'Emmy' Award nom [1982] for 'Marco Polo'; David di Donatello Award [1985] & 'César' Award nom [1985] for 'Carmen'; 'César' Award nom [1986] for 'Harem'.


#1: as camera operator

#2: as director of photography


It is easy to confuse great settings with great cinematography. The film 'A Month by the Lake' has some exquisite individual images of the Lake Como region of Italy captured by the eminent cinematographer Pasqualino de Santis, but this will not be remembered as one of his notable achievements as there is no compelling sense of unity or stylization on the visual side.

However, one has only to think back on the contrasting look of such films as Franco Zeffirelli's 'Romeo e Giulietta', Luchino Visconti's 'Morte a Venezia' or Francesco Rosi's 'Cadaveri eccellenti' and 'Cristo si è fermato a Eboli' to recognize the extraordinary skill and versatility of De Santis.

Each of these directors prized his ability to adapt setting, and mould light and shadow, to create a particular atmosphere and feeling appropriate to the subject in hand.

The much younger brother of director Giuseppe de Santis, Pasqualino gained a job as assistant camera operator on one of his brother's productions after graduating from film school in Rome. This was the start of a long association with the cinematographer Piero Portalupi, a man with formidable practical skills who taught him that every problem had a technical solution.

De Santis became a camera operator and soon linked up with the director of photography Gianni Di Venanzo. From Di Venanzo, De Santis learned how to overcome difficulties by taking risks and experimenting.

Always wearing around his neck the light filter that had belonged to Di Venanzo, De Santis then became Rosi's regular cinematographer. He provided the serene images of the fairytale 'C'era una volta...' and the hard, dry look for 'Cristo si è fermato a Eboli', with its story of political exile in the mountains, before switching to the luminous brightness of 'Tre fratelli'. "He chooses the right light for the right place," said Rosi.

He was Visconti's last regular cameraman. On 'Morte a Venezia', the director demanded a flamboyant, conspicuous visual style. De Santis had difficulty achieving an unreal, shimmering impression of the beach, finally solving the problem by stretching large sheets and sails everywhere to filter the sun's rays.

De Santis always had to work in color as a director of photography. He sometimes sought to suppress color and for Ettore Scola's 'Una giornata particolare', he not only persuaded the director to adopt a sober visual style but memorably created a subdued, near monochrome impression to suit the 1938 setting.

De Santis had rejoined Francesco Rosi earlier this year on the director's latest venture, 'La tregua', and died of a heart attack in the Ukraine while still working on the film. [From obituary by Allen Eyles in 'The Independent', July 1, 1996.]


 

 FILMS

1964

Il momento della verità/The Moment of Truth [Francesco Rosi] ts/c; cph: Gianni Di Venanzo & Aiace Parolin

1965

The Honey Pot/It Comes Up Murder/Mr. Fox of Venice/The Honeypot [Joseph L. Mankiewicz] c; was c.op, but became ph after the death of Gianni Di Venanzo; cph: Gianni Di Venanzo (died during prod); prod was started by doph Piero Portalupi

1966

C'era una volta.../More Than a Miracle/Cinderella: Italian Style [Francesco Rosi] fs/c

1967

Pronto... c'è una certa Giuliana per te [Massimo Franciosa] Panoramica/c

1967

Romeo e Giulietta/Romeo and Juliet [Franco Zeffirelli] c

1968

Amanti/A Place for Lovers [Vittorio De Sica] c

1968

Scusi, facciamo l'amore?/Listen, Let's Make Love [Vittorio Caprioli] ts/c

1969

Senza sapere niente di lei [Luigi Comencini] ts/c

1969

Colpo rovente/Red Hot Shot [Piero Zuffi] ts/c

1969

La caduta degli dei/Götterdämmerung/The Damned [Luchino Visconti] c; cph: Armando Nannuzzi

1969

Uomini contro/Many Wars Ago [Francesco Rosi] c

1970

Morte a Venezia/Death in Venice [Luchino Visconti] p/c

1971

Il caso Mattei [Francesco Rosi] c

1971

The Assassination of Trotsky [Joseph Losey] c

1971

Er più - storia d'amore e di coltello [Sergio Corbucci] c

1971

24 ore... non un minuto di più/Guernica [Franco Bottari] c; cph: Sergio D'Offizi

1972

L'automobile [Alfredo Giannetti] c

1972

La grande scrofa nera [Filippo Ottoni] c

1972

Torino nera/Black Turin [Carlo Lizzani] c

1973

Lucky Luciano [Francesco Rosi] c

1973

Lancelot du lac/Lancelot of the Lake [Robert Bresson] c

1974

Gruppo di famiglia in un interno/Violence and Passion/Conversation Piece [Luchino Visconti] tao35/c

1974

A mezzanotte va la ronda del piacere/The Immortal Bachelor/Midnight Pleasures [Marcello Fondato] c

1975

Cadaveri eccellenti/Illustrious Corpses [Francesco Rosi] c

1975

L'innocente [Luchino Visconti] tvi/c

1976

Le diable probablement/The Devil, Probably [Robert Bresson] c

1976

Notti e nebbie [Giorgio Strehler] ?

 

Before & After - "Una giornata particolare"

 

1976

Una giornata particolare/A Special Day [Ettore Scola] c (special lab treatment; see photo above)

1977

Nenè [Salvatore Samperi] c

1977

Il giorno dei cristalli [Giacomo Battiato] c

1978

Cristo si è fermato a Eboli/Christ Stopped at Eboli [Francesco Rosi] c

1979

Liquirizia [Salvatore Samperi] c

1979

La terrazza/The Terrace [Ettore Scola] c

1980

Tre fratelli/Three Brothers [Francesco Rosi] tvi/c

1982

Misunderstood [Jerry Schatzberg] c

 

"L'argent"

 

1982

L'argent [Robert Bresson] c; cph: Emmanuel Machuel

1982

Rigoletto [Jean-Pierre Ponnelle] c; opera film/128m

1983

Carmen/Bizet's Carmen [Francesco Rosi] p (+ 70bu)/c

1983

Sheena [John Guillermin] p/c; action ph: Don Burgess

1985

Harem [Arthur Joffé] p/c

1985

Salome [Claude d'Anna] p/c

1985

I soliti ignoti vent'anni dopo/Big Deal After 20 Years [Amanzio Todini] b&w-c

1986

Cronaca di una morte annunciata/Chronicle of a Death Foretold [Francesco Rosi] p/c

1987

Qualcuno in ascolto/High Frequency [Faliero Rosati] c

1989

Dimenticare Palermo/The Palermo Connection/To Forget Palermo [Francesco Rosi] c

1989

Musica per vecchi animali [Umberto Angelucci & Stefano Benni] c

1989

12 regista per 12 città [seg 'Una certa idea di Napoli' dir by Francesco Rosi] c; doc/102m; 12 seg

1992

Mouche [Marcel Carné] unfinished

1992

Diario napoletano [Francesco Rosi] c

1993

Fratelli del silenzio [Giancarlo Santi] status unknown (filmed in 1999 as 'Con la voce del cuore', ph by Giancarlo Lodi)

1994

A Month by the Lake [John Irvin] c

1994

Les couleurs du diable/I colori del diavolo/The Colors of the Devil [Alain Jessua] c

1996

La tregua/The Truce [Francesco Rosi] c; cph: Marco Pontecorvo (was c.op, but took over after De Santis died); dedicated to the memory of De Santis and film editor Ruggero Mastroianni (1929-1996)

 

 TELEVISION

1968

Block-notes di un regista/Fellini: A Director's Notebook [Federico Fellini] doc/54m; for NBC-tv

1978

Martin Eden [Giacomo Battiato] 5-part miniseries

1981

Marco Polo [Giuliano Montaldo] 4-part miniseries; 2nd doph: Pier Ludovico Pavoni

1990

Eurocops/Il commissario Corso (12 ep) [ep #6 'Senza prove' & #7 'L'ostaggio' dir by Gianni Lepre] 70-part series, 1988-93

1991

Eurocops/Il commissario Corso [ep #9 'La sfida' & #11-12 'Patto con la morte' dir by Gianni Lepre] see 1990

 

 FILMS AS CAMERA ASSISTANT/OPERATOR

1950

Non c'è pace tra gli ulivi/Under the Olive Tree [Giuseppe De Santis] c.asst; ph: Piero Portalupi

1951

Vacanze col gangster [Dino Risi] c.asst; ph: Piero Portalupi

1953

Aida [Clemente Fracassi] c.asst; ph: Piero Portalupi

1953

Carosello napoletano/Neapolitan Carousel/Neapolitan Fantasy [Ettore Giannini] c.asst; ph: Piero Portalupi

1954

Le ragazze di San Frediano/The Girls of San Frediano [Valerio Zurlini] co-c.asst; ph: Gianni Di Venanzo

1955

Andrea Chénier/Le souffle de la liberté [Clemente Fracassi] c.asst; ph: Piero Portalupi

1955

Gli sbandati/Abandoned [Francesco Maselli] co-c.asst; ph: Gianni Di Venanzo

1956

Uomini e lupi/Men and Wolves [Giuseppe De Santis & Leopoldo Savona] co-c.asst; ph: Piero Portalupi

1957

La strada lunga un anno/The Year Long Road [Giuseppe De Santis] co-c.op; ph: Marco Scarpelli

1958

Totò nella luna/Totò in the Moon [Steno] c.op; ph: Marco Scarpelli

1959

Tempi duri per i vampiri/Hard Times for Dracula [Steno] co-c.op; ph: Marco Scarpelli

1960

La notte [Michelangelo Antonioni] c.op; ph: Gianni Di Venanzo

1960

Crimen/...And Suddenly It's Murder!/Criminals/Killing in Monte Carlo [Mario Camerini] c.op; ph: Gianni Di Venanzo

1961

Il carabiniere a cavallo [Carlo Lizzani] c.op; ph: Gianni Di Venanzo

1961

Salvatore Giuliano [Francesco Rosi] c.op; ph: Gianni Di Venanzo

1961

Eva/Eve [Joseph Losey] c.op; ph: Gianni Di Venanzo & (uncred) Henri Decaë; filmed 1961-62

 

 

1962

L'eclisse/[The] Eclipse [Michelangelo Antonioni] c.op; ph: Gianni Di Venanzo

1962

8½/Otte e mezzo [Federico Fellini] c.op; ph: Gianni Di Venanzo

1962

I basilischi/The Lizards [Lina Wertmüller] c.op; ph: Gianni Di Venanzo

1963

Le mani sulla città/Hands Over the City [Francesco Rosi] c.op; ph: Gianni Di Venanzo

1963

La ragazza di Bube/Bebo's Girl [Luigi Comencini] c.op; ph: Gianni Di Venanzo

1963

Gli indifferenti/Time of Indifference [Francesco Maselli] c.op; ph: Gianni Di Venanzo

1963

Alta infedeltà/High Infidelity [seg 'Gente moderna/Modern People' dir by Mario Monicelli] c.op; ph: Gianni Di Venanzo

1964

Oggi, domani, dopodomani/Kiss the Other Sheik/The Man, the Woman and the Money [seg 'La moglie bionda' dir by Luciano Salce] c.op; ph: Gianni Di Venanzo

1964

Giulietta degli spiriti/Juliet of the Spirits [Federico Fellini] c.op; ph: Gianni Di Venanzo

1965

Il morbidone/The Dreamer [Massimo Franciosa] co-c.op; ph: Gianni Di Venanzo & Giuseppe Aquari

1965

La decima vittima/The 10th Victim/The Tenth Victim [Elio Petri] c.op; ph: Gianni Di Venanzo

1965

The Honey Pot [Joseph L. Mankiewicz] c.op; ph: Gianni Di Venanzo; took over ph after the death of Di Venanzo