Tinto Brass Biography
A deeper look at Tinto Brass
Born in Milan on 26th March 1933, Giovanni "Tinto" Brass, was raised in Venice where his father practiced as a lawyer. He adapted his nickname Tintoretto, given to him by his artist grandfather Italico Brass, as his cinematic name and went on to become one of Europe-s leading filmmakers. Tinto Brass initially followed in his father-s footsteps and completed his law degree but after three months as a practicing lawyer, he left the legal profession.
His passion for filmmaking saw him relocating to France where he took up a job as a projectionist at the Cinémathèque Française - a globally renowned film archive. Brass apprenticed to the then chief of the Cinémathèque Française, Henris Langlois who gave him the opportunity to assist with the editing of a documentary which was never released. His next break in filmmaking was when he worked as an assistant director to Robert Rosellini on the documentary India (1959).
Brass-s career was not an easy rise to fame. His first film Chi lavora è perduto, also known as In Capo al Mondo, sparked as much controversy as his later works but not for the erotic content. Rather it questioned the socially accepted institutions of the time. While it received critical acclaim at the first screenings at trade festivals, it was subsequently banned for nearly a year. These early years saw him play around with many genres from sci-fi to spaghetti westerns.
Brass eventually found his niche with the movie Black on White (1969), an erotic drama about infidelity and this was followed by L-Urlo in 1970, a shocking look at war, sex and fantasy. By this point, Brass-s career was firmly entrenched in the erotic genre. Despite this, Tinto Brass did not let the flesh shadow his artistic side. His later films established his characteristic impressionistic style which brought a new direction to the portrayal of erotica intermingled with the antics of people during World War II.
The next few years were a busy period in Tinto-s career and he hit another milestone with the making of Salon Kitty (1976). This established his trademark use of mirrors and reflections which continued through most of his films and gave his productions the distinctive Tinto Brass touch.
However, the next big controversy was around the corner and the success of Salon Kitty caught the attention of audiences and prospective filmmakers across the Atlantic. This led to the making of Caligulla (1977) where Tinto refused to allow the inclusion of certain erotic scenes at the editing stage, which he felt reduced his film to a cheap flesh flick. Despite turning his back on the film, it became an international box office hit and one of his most famous films to date.
His subsequent successes with films like Fanny Hill, The Key, Miranda and Paprika cemented Brass as a serious filmmaker within the erotica genre and secured a fan club that extended across the globe. Over the years his filmmaking developed and he moved away from gore and psychedelic flashes in the story line to more realistic, yet erotic, expressions of sex, life and the emotions of those involved in the storyline. He transformed his filmmaking from characters who simply led one scene to the next to real life individuals who explored their sexuality and emotions at different stages of their lives.