Giuseppe Avati, better known as Pupi Avati (born 3 November 1938), is an Italian film director, producer, and screenwriter. He is known to horror film fans for his two masterpieces of the macabre, The House with Laughing Windows (1976) and Zeder (1983).
Early life and career
Pupi Avati was born in Bologna in 1938. After attending school and studying Political Science at the University of Bologna, he started working at a frozen food company. At the same time, he developed a passion for jazz, becoming a proficient clarinetist. In the second half of the 1950s, he formed and played in the Doctor Dixie Jazz Band, of which Lucio Dalla was also a member.
Although he initially intended to be a professional musician, Avati felt he lacked the necessary talent. In the mid-1960s, he decided to dedicate himself to cinema after seeing Federico Fellini’s 8½ and its portrait of the role of a director. Avati’s passion for music, as well as his love for his hometown, which was the setting of many of his films, were to become recurrent themes found in his productions.
His filmography as a director includes almost forty films and television works. As a screenwriter, Avati wrote or co-authored the majority of his movies, as well as screenplays for other directors. He cooperated on the script of Salò o le 120 giornate di Sodoma (Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom, 1976) directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini, even though he is not credited for it. He also produced several films for other directors and in his own work. Many of his movies are also produced by his brother Antonio Avati.
Avati began his career directing horror films and is considered one of the most notable Italian directors of this genre, with titles including La casa dalle finestre che ridono (The House with Laughing Windows, 1976) and Zeder (1983), which are considered his masterpieces.
According to Avati, the TV series Jazz Band (1978), written about the story of the Doctor Dixie Jazz Band marked a turning point for his work. The subject of his movies began coming from his own experience, and his cinema became more nostalgic, introspective, and autobiographic. Moreover, the series was successful and brought Avati to the attention of a wider public compared to his previous films. Throughout his career, Avati successfully directed and produced many genres of film, including horrors, medieval period pieces, dramas, jazz comedies, buddy comedies, biopics and others, proving himself to be a versatile director.
During his career as a director, screenwriter, and producer, Avati was nominated for the Golden Palm, Silver Ribbons, David di Donatello Awards, and many others. He won two David di Donatello Awards and five Silver Ribbons. Avati was nominated Commendatore Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana on 2 June 1995.
He has presided over the Federico Fellini Foundation, created in 1995, in memory of the great Rimini-born director.
In 2008, Avati published his autobiography, Sotto le stelle di un film, edited by Il Margine. Inspired by the autobiography of the director, in 2010, Claudio Costa made a documentary film of interviews and animations, called Pupi Avati, ieri oggi domani (“Pupi Avati, yesterday today tomorrow”).