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One of the darlings of the Cannes Film Festival, auteur Nanni Moretti established a reputation as the Italian Woody Allen thanks to a string of wryly humorous and navel-gazing directorial efforts in which he cast himself in the lead role. Often also taking on the duties of producer and screenwriter, the eccentric visionary made an instant impression in his homeland with comedic debut "I Am Self Sufficient" (1976) and continued to showcase his distinctive blend of satire, surrealism and semi-autobiographical themes in the likes of international breakthrough "Ecce bombo" (1978), festival hit "Sogni d'oro" (1981) and arthouse favorite "La messa e finita" (1984). The following decade saw Moretti embrace his leftist leanings with several politically charged pictures, while diary-style films "Caro diario" (1993) and "Aprile" (1998) offered audiences a deeper insight into his eccentric real-life persona. Moretti achieved his biggest commercial success in the 00s with the Palme d'Or-winning family tragedy "The Son's Room" (2001) and Silvio Berlusconi-skewing comedy "Il caimani" (2006), while acclaimed performances in the former and subtle psychological drama "Quiet Chaos" (2008) proved he was just as masterful in front of the camera as he was behind it.
Born in South Tyrol, Italy in 1953 to teacher parents, Moretti developed a love of cinema in his teens, and the works of Karel Reisz and Pier Paolo Pasolini in particular, and after finishing high school, he began making his own short films including "Pate de bourgeois" (1973), "La sconfitta" (1973) and "Come parli, frate?" (1974) As with the majority of his filmography, Moretti also served as producer, writer and lead actor for his full-length directorial debut, "I Am Self Sufficient" (1976), a comedy about the staging of an experimental theater production in which he played Michela Apicella, a character name he would use throughout his early career. Following a supporting role in the Taviani brothers' Palme d'Or-winning coming-of-age tale "Padre padrone" (1977), Moretti enjoyed his first commercial success as a director with "Ecce bombo" (1978), a low-budget comedy in which he starred as a neurotic slacker who forms a friendship with a group of 60s activists.
Moretti continued to take center stage in his directorial efforts throughout the 80s, appearing as a disillusioned theater producer in Venice Film Festival hit "Sogni d'oro" (1981), an obsessive maths teacher in murder mystery "Bianca" (1994) and a priest returning to his depressive hometown in family drama "La messa e finita" (1985). Drawing on his own teenage experiences as a first division water polo player, "Red Lob" (1989) saw Moretti star as an amnesiac Communist party member who takes to the sport in a bid to recover his memory. Moretti then expanded on its political themes for "The Thing" (1990), a documentary reflecting on the major changes in Italian communism, and played corrupt minister Cesare Botero in Daniele Luchetti's "Il portaborse" (1991). Not for the last time, Cannes Film Festival audiences then lapped up freewheeling semi-autobiographical effort "Caro diario" (1993), a style he also adopted for follow-up "Aprile" (1998), a similarly-lauded and highly personal affair which recorded his wife, Silvia Nono, giving birth to their first child.
A psychological study of a family attempting to deal with the loss of a loved one, "The Son's Room" (2001) won the coveted Palme d'Or at Cannes in 2001 and later featured in many end-of-decade best of polls. Moretti took his time to follow it up, with production work on dysfunctional family drama" I Can See It In Your Eyes" (2004) and seven episodes of documentary series "I diari della Sacher" (2004) his only major credits over the next five years. He eventually returned as subversive as ever with "Il caimano" (2006), a satirical meta-comedy drama which took aim at Silvio Berlusconi's political career. After contributing to the "To Each His Own Cinema" (2007) anthology with the "Diaro di uno Spettatore" segment, Moretti received plaudits for his tender turn as a grieving father in "Quiet Chaos" (2008), before taking the director's chair again for "We Have A Pope" (2011), a surprisingly conservative comedy in which a cardinal is voted leader of the Catholic church against his wishes. Following another break from the industry, Moretti cast Margherita Buy to play his female alter-ego in heart-wrenching semi-autobiographical drama "Mia madre" (2015).
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