Whilst he only directed three films, none of which are well known today, Carlo Di Palma is arguably the most influential person to work in Italian cinema. As a cinematographer, he worked with some of the greatest directors. Most notably, he had long and profitable collaborations with Michelangelo Antonioni and Woody Allen. In Water and Sugar: Carlo Di Palma, the Colours of Life, director Fariborz Kamkari explores his life, work and lasting legacy.
After being asked to put-together an exhibition of his works, Palma’s widow Adriana Chiesa is spurred into action. She travels around the world meeting former collaborators, film experts and admirers; charting his career from starting work at the age of 15, being a focus puller on Bicycle Thieves, eventually emigrating to New York and working with Woody Allen. Allen himself gives a rather warm interview, along with the likes of Wim Wenders, Bernardo Bertolucci, Ken Loach and Christian De Sica. There’s also an archive interview of the man himself discussing his childhood.
Water and Sugar: Carlo Di Palma, the Colours of Life is a fascinating insight into the ingenuity and mastery of a great man. Using clips from his films to demonstrate points, it’s also a riveting history of Italian film. It’s cleverly made, but also slightly clunky at times. Adriana Chiesa is far too present. However, Water and Sugar is a must-see for anyone with an interest in the history of film or classic cinema.
Water and Sugar: Carlo Di Palma, the Colours of Life is out in cinemas from Friday.