Matteo Garrone

Matteo Garrone

Born in Rome to theater critic father Nico Garrone and photographer mother Donatella Rimoldi, Garrone immersed himself in his homeland's artistic culture at a young age; after graduating from art school in 1986, he spent several years as a painter. In 1989, he earned his first credit as a camera operator on Italian police comedy "Il vigile urbano" (Rai, 1989-1990) and continued to work in that capacity as he transitioned to director, producer and writer for the short film "Silhouette" (1996). In the same year, Garrone made his feature-length debut with "Land in Between" (1996), a docudrama which reflected on the experiences of third world immigrants in his homeland, and followed it up with "Welcome Holy Spirit" (1997), a documentary about Pentecostal groups in New York. A second short loosely based on a Massimo Bontempelli story, "Il caso di forza maggiore" (1998), arrived a year later, as did "Guests" (1998), a naturalistic drama based on an Albanian family's quest for a new life in Italy, and "Oresto Pipolo: fotografo di matrimoni" (1998), a real-life portrait of the titular wedding photographer.The story of a veteran stage actress returning to her hometown, "Roman Summer" (2000) was followed by "The Embalmer" (2002), an unsettling drama in which a taxidermist becomes consumed by jealousy over his protégé's new love interest. Garrone continued to explore twisted subject matter on "First Love" (2004), a deeply disturbing tale of a masochistic goldsmith who encourages the young girl he meets through a classified ad to lose a dangerous amount of weight. Garrone then took a four-year break from the industry before returning as a producer on Gianni Di Gregorio's directorial debut, "Mid-August Lunch" (2008). Co-written with the aforementioned actor/screenwriter, "Gomorrah" (2008) then took Garrone's career to another level when it won the Grand Prix prize at the Cannes Film Festival. Based on Roberto Saviano's investigative expose of the Casalesi clan, a crime syndicate based in the southern Italian region of Campania, it was credited with reinventing the mob movie and also picked up nominations at the Golden Globes and Independent Spirit Awards.Despite the controversy surrounding alleged payments given to real life gangsters for their involvement in his international breakthrough, Garrone certainly didn't shy away from working with criminals on his next project, "Reality" (2012). Featuring Aniello Arena, a former hitman serving a life sentence without parole for his part in a triple homicide in the early '90s, in the lead role, the dark satire tells the story of a Neapolitan fishmonger, who after applying for a place on reality show "Grande Fratello" (Canale 5 2000-) starts to believe that his every move is being broadcast on television. Following a foray into animation with a production credit on the short "Thugs With No Legend" (2013), Garrone took on the most expensive and high-profile project of his career with "Tale of Tales" (2015). Starring Salma Hayek, Vincent Cassel and John C. Reilly, Garrone's first English-language film saw him adapt a collection of 17th Century fairytales from Giambattista Basile into one visually sumptuous period epic which drew a near-universal rapturous response at its Cannes premiere.