West and Soda, by Bruno Bozzetto
'West and Soda'.

Bruno Bozzetto is one of Italy's best-known animated film directors, praised for his satirical depth. He is most famous for his signature character 'Signor Rossi' (1960-1964), whom he also adapted into comic strips. Bozzetto adapted many of his animated feature films into comic books, including 'West and Soda' (1965) and 'VIP, Mio Fratello Superuomo' (1968). His most enduring and internationally well-known animated film is the cult classic 'Allegro Non Troppo' (1976), often compared to Disney's 'Fantasia', though with a satirical approach. Bozzetto's films have received numerous awards and he is still respected as one of animation's most innovative and humorous legends.

Early life and career
Bruno Bozzetto was born in 1938 in Milan. At the age of 15, he made his first animated cartoon, a tribute to Walt Disney's 'Donald Duck'. His first professional animated short was 'Tapum! La Storia delle Armi' ('Tapum! The weapons' Story', 1958), a humorous overview of the history of weapons. It was screened at the Film Festival of Cannes and immediately attracted international acclaim. Animation legends Norman McLaren (known for 'Voisins', A.K.A., 'Neighbours' [1952]) and John Halas (known for 'Animal Farm' [1954]) contacted him and suggested working together in the future.

By 1960, Bozzetto had enough credibility to found his own animation company: the Bruno Bozzetto Film Company. He created serials for the Swiss television network 'RTSI' and his cartoon 'Help?' (1995) aired as part of Hanna-Barbera's 'What a Cartoon!' series on Cartoon Network. He produced animated TV series for RAI called 'La Famiglia Spaghetti' ('The Spaghetti Family', 2003) and 'Topo Tip' ('Topo the Mouse', 2014). Together with journalist Piero Angela, he created about 100 shorts for the scientific TV show 'Quark' (since 1981). His work 'Bruno the Great' (2008) was produced for the Disney Channel.

Signor Rossi by Bruno Bozzetto
'Il Signor Rossi'. Translation: "Ooohhh! Finally I have a unique and precious object." 

Signor Rossi
Bozzetto's best-known character is 'Signor Rossi', who debuted in the 1960 animated short 'Un Oscar per il Signor Rossi'. Mr. Rossi is an Italian everyman. Between 1960 and 1974, the short-sized moustached man starred in seven animated shorts and three feature-length animated films: 'Il Signor Rossi Cerca la Felicità' (1976), 'I Sogni del signor Rossi' (1977) and 'Le Vacanze del Signor Rossi' (1978). Their pantomime comedy gave them instant international appeal.

During the 1960s, Bozzetto drew several comics for the weekly magazine Il Giorno. In 1965, he directed 'West and Soda', an animated feature film which parodies westerns. He adapted it into a comic strip too, published in Il Giorno between January and April 1966. His next animated film, 'VIP, Mio Fratello Superuomo' ('VIP, My Brother Superman', 1968), is a satirical take on superhero comics. It also inspired a comic strip spin-off, 'SuperVip e MiniVip' (1968), published in Il Giorno. 40 years later, the film was produced into a spin-off TV series, 'PsicoVip' (2008). Bozzetto has also made books with 'Sperling & Kupfer' and 'Signor Rossi'.

Allegro Non Troppo by Bruno Bozzetto
'Allegro Non Troppo'.

Allegro Non Troppo
Bozzetto's most internationally famous work is 'Allegro Non Troppo' (1976), an anthology film in which the animated sequences are set to iconic classical music pieces, similar to Walt Disney's 'Fantasia' (1940), which is even jokingly referenced in the film itself. However, contrary to 'Fantasia', the film has a more satirical edge. During a scene set to Antonin Dvorak's 'Slavonic Dance No. 7', human rivalry and copy-cat behaviour is lampooned through a group of people who keep building bigger and bigger houses. Igor Stravinsky's 'The Firebird' accompanies the story of Adam and Eve to provide a metaphor about human corruption. The most famous sequence features gradually evolving prehistoric animals, marching to the melody of Maurice Ravel's 'Boléro', until mankind wipes everything out.

'Allegro No Troppo' is still regarded as a cult classic. Its mature and thought-provoking themes made it popular with adult viewers. Disney animator Ward Kimball named it one of his "favorite animated films of all time." Nina Paley saw 'Allegro Non Troppo' at age 12 and stated that it "blew her young mind." John Lasseter, chief creative officer at Pixar, said: "Bruno Bozzetto's films have been one of the greatest inspirations for me as an animator and storyteller. He has created some of the funniest animated films ever made and is one of the most clever storytellers around. Bruno's designs are so appealing and his comic timing is truly unsurpassed."

In 1987, Bozzetto directed his first and only live-action film, 'Sotto il Ristorante Cinese' ('Under the Chinese Restaurant'), a comedy about a man who witnesses a robbery and has to hide inside the basement of a Chinese restaurant, where he discovers a portal that transforms him to a different, more fantastical dimension, full with strange creatures.

Cartoon by Bruno Bozzetto
Translation: - Rossi: "I want federalism." - Waiter: "Venetian style or Roman style?". Girl: "Is it true that the communists eat little children?" - Rossi: "Not all of them, only the ones who are industrialists." 

Throughout his career, Bozzetto has won countless awards. His animated short, 'Mister Tao' (1988), about a mountaineer in search of the highest tops in life, received a Golden Bear at the Festival of Berlin. The anti-war cartoon 'Cavallette' ('Grasshoppers', 1990), was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Short, but lost to Nick Park's 'Creature Comforts' (1990). In 1982, Bozzetto won the Winsor McCay Award, followed by an award for his entire career at the 1998 Animation Festival of Zagreb. The University of Bergamo named him 'honoris causa' in the field of "theory, techniques and management of all performing arts" (2007). In 2008, the animation legend won a Vittorio de Sica Award for a lifespan of work, handed directly to him by Italian president Giorgio Napolitano. The prestigious ASIFA award for "outstanding achievements in the art of animation" followed in 2013. His work has been subject of several exhibitions in Milan, Bergamo and Torino and in the Theater Gallery at the Walt Disney Family Museum.

Recent years
Bozzetto also moves along with the latest technology. Since the 1990s he works mostly with Adobe Flash animation. His first short in this style, 'Europe and Italy' (1999), about the behavioral differences between Italians and Europeans, quickly became a worldwide success. In 2012, he launched his own YouTube channel.

SuperVip e MiniVip, by Bruno Bozzetto
 'SuperVip e MiniVip'. 


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