Vittorio De Seta is one of the most atypical filmmakers of Italian cinema. The Sicilian master was born in a noble family in Palermo in 1923, he began filmmaking, self-teaching himself, and documenting Sicilian and Sardinian life in the 1950s in a distinctive visual and poetic style. In fact he had intended to become an architect and was properly educated at the University of Rome. He made nine short, dreamy and striking documentaries over the decade, which are considered now as monuments of documentary filmmaking. In 1961, he made his feature film directorial debut with the acclaimed minimalist fiction Banditi a Orgosolo / Bandits of Orgosolo that he produced, co-wrote and served as director of photography, and for which he received the Best First Film Award at the Venice Film Festival the same year. Filmed in black and white and employing documentary techniques, Banditi a Orgosolo was set in the hills of Sardinia. In 1966, he co-wrote and directed Un Uomo a Metà / Almost a Man, which depicted the mental collapse of a struggling writer, and hailed as a cross between Bergman and Antonioni. De Seta's third film was L'Invitée / The Invited (1969), a well-made character study. Finally, in the 1970's, he turned to television. It is therefore a short but extremely rich career which still continues, as although in his eighties now, he has been working on a fiction film, and shooting it completely digitally. His beautiful, deeply humanistic, and compelling works have been inspiration to many; and Martin Scorsese has given tribute to this extraordinary documentary-maker at Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in the US in 2005, as a proof.
- Alin Taşçıyan