Bologna-born Giuseppe 'Pupi' Avati gave up veterinary studies to join a jazz band as a clarinetist in the mid-1950s and later left a job in the frozen food industry to enter films in 1964. Forming the A.M.A. production company with his brother Antonio and Gianni Minervini, Avati went on to direct several award-winning films in his native Italy ("Bordella" 1975, the made-for-TV "Jazz Band" 1978). He also collaborated on the screenplay of Pasolini's last film, the highly controversial "Salo o le 120 Giornate di Sodoma/The 120 Days of Sodom" (1975).
Avati moved into production with Lamberto Bava's horror film "Macabro/Macabre" (1980) and several years later he and Antonio formed another company, Duea Films. For most of the 80s, he concentrated on such enjoyable entertainment as the comedies "Impiegati/Employees" (1984) and "Festa di Laurea/Graduation Party" (1985) and the sports drama "Ultimo Momento/The Last Minute" (1987). Avati did not receive widespread attention in America, though, until he filmed the semi-autobiographical chronicle of his parents' courtship, "Storia di Ragazzi e de Ragazze/The Story of Boys and Girls" (1989).
In the 90s, Avati made his first English-language, American-shot film, "Bix" (1991), an intriguing examination of the meteoric rise and rapid descent into alcoholism, oblivion and death at age 28 of jazz legend Bix Beiderbecke. He followed with work of varying quality including "Magnificat" (1993), a beautifully filmed historical drama about faith and manners that echoed aspects of Pasolini's work. While he had success with "Bix," partly because of his own love of jazz, Avati stumbled with his second English-language film, "The Childhood Friend" (1994), a rambling and improbable tale about a journalist affected by the death of a buddy. The director was back on surer ground with the horror-themed "The Arcane Enchanter" (1996) and 1997's acclaimed "The Best Man," selected as Italy's entry in the annual Oscar sweepstakes. While it failed to secure a spot in the final five chosen by the Academy, the lush film, about a wedding set during the waning days of the 19th Century, won critical kudos.
Director (Feature Film)
Writer (Feature Film)
Producer (Feature Film)
Joined the Rheno Jazz Band as a clarinet player and toured Europe until 1964
Worked for a frozen food company (date approximate)
First involved in show business
Put together a theater piece for A.R.C.I. In Bologna
Left frozen food job and first worked on a film with "Balsamus, L'Uomo Di Satana/Blood Relations"
Collabroated on screenplay of Pasolini's "Salo o Le 120 Giornate di Sodoma/Salo or The 120 Days of Sodom"
Formed A.M.A. Production company with brother Antonio and Gianni Minervini
Produced first film, Lamberto Bava's "Macabro" (also wrote screenplay)
Formed new production company, Duea Films, with brother Antonio
Wrote and directed "Hamburger Serenada", a show in 12 episodes, in collaboration with Gianni Cavina and Antonio Avati
Directed and wrote the semi-autobiographical "Storia di ragazzi e de ragazze/The Story of Boys and Girls" (released theatrically in the USA in 1991)
Made first English-language film "Bix", about jazz great Bix Beiderbecke
Second English-language film "The Childhood Friend"
Scripted and helmed the horror-themed "L'Arcano Incantore/The Arcane Enchanter"
Directed "The Best Man", Italy's selection for the Best Foreign Film Oscar
Co-wrote and directed "La Via degli angeli/Up to the Angels"
Directed and co-wrote (with brother) "Midsummer Night Dance"
Helmed the English-language medieval epic "Knights of the Quest"