Retrospective: Sergio Stivaletti
|WAX MASK / M.D.C. - MASCHERA DI CERA
Italy, France; 1997; 98 min
Italy; 1985; 116 min
Directed by: Dario Argento
|DEMONS / DEMONI
Italy; 1985; 88 min
Directed by: Lamberto Bava
Italy, France, Germany; 1994; 105 min
Directed by: Michele Soavi
Sergio Stivaletti master class will take place on Saturday, July 15th at 18.00h at the Main Square.
Due to the limited means on their disposal, the Italian genre film directors have always been masters of improvisation. Regardless of the budget, they never fail to amaze us with the lavish, rich look of their films. They manage to achieve this thanks to their dedicated collaborators, including many excellent directors of photography, art directors, costume designers, and, most importantly, makeup artists and special effects experts. One of the greatest Italian, and also European, specialists in the latter two departments is Sergio Stivaletti (b. 1957), who has been working in this field for the last thirty-five years, which also led him to become a film director and producer in the process.
In various roles, but mostly in the field of special and visual effects, as well as make-up department, Sergio Stivaletti worked on about fifty films, collaborating not just with the famous genre film directors, like Riccardo Freda, Dario Argento, Lamberto Bava, Michele Soavi, Antonio Margheriti, Sergio Martino and Alberto De Martino, but also with some of the renowned names of Italian mainstream cinema, including Gabriele Salvatores, Matteo Garrone, and Pupi Avati. It was with the latter director that Stivaletti's involvement in cinema actually began: in 1978, he worked in the props department first for the three episodes of Avati's TV series Jazz Band, and then, a year later, for his feature film, Le strelle nel fosso. He then collaborated with Riccardo Freda as special effects assistant on his Murder Obsession (1981), as props master for Antonio Margheriti's Raiders of the Golden Cobra (1982), and designed the stop-motion shots for Sergio Martino's The Scorpion with Two Tails (1982). His breakthrough came with the makeup art he did on Dario Argento's Phenomena (1985), then he went on to achieve worldwide fame with his special effects and makeup for Lamberto Bava's Demons (1985) and Demons 2 (1986), additional special effects work for Dario Argento, including Opera (1987) and The Stendhal Syndrome (1996), where he introduced computer generated visual effects, also very important is his contribution to Michele Soavi's films The Church (1989), The Sect / The Devil's Daughter (1991) and Dellamorte Dellamore (1994), to mention just a few titles he is associated with.
He took to direction with The Wax Mask (1997). The next feature film he helmed was Three Faces of Terror (2004), which he also wrote. He then went to direct two shorts, Il velo di Waltz (2009) and L'invito (2013), as well as the segment Tophet Quorum of the horror The Profane Exhibit (2013). Sergio Stivaletti won several awards for his work, notably at Fantafestival in Rome, the Fabriano Film Festival, Festival of Fantasy of Bruxelles, and elsewhere.
Sergio Stivaletti is quoted to say how we often tend to forget that horror film is an art and that this is especially true regarding the special effects. There is no doubt about the fact that we are dealing with pure art when it comes to Sergio Stivaletti's mastery and his constant striving to carve new pathways in the field he has proven himself so many times. The effect of his work is sometimes so powerful it seems to us more akin to magic than artistry. And we'll be witnessing some of this magic in the company of Sergio Stivaletti at this year's Grossmann Festival.