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Tonino Guerra: the screenwriter as a narrative technician or as a poet of images? Authorship and method in the writerdirector relationship

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The article focuses on the invisible role of the screenwriter and makes observations about the screenwriter's part in the process of writing a screenplay together with a director. By studying the two examples of the collaboration between the screenwriter and poet Tonino Guerra with the directors Michelangelo Antonioni and Andrei Tarkovsky, the intention is to follow the ways in which authorship is both constituted and shared in such a liaison. I observe how the craft of the screenwriter is understood in relation to the different aspects of his task. By focusing on the case study around the writing of the film Nostalghia/Nostalgia (1983), I also consider how responsibility in developing these aspects is shared between screenwriter and director during different phases of a screenwriting process: in gathering ideas, sketching, building the story structure, writing drafts, rewriting and completing the final draft.

Keywords: Andrei Tarkovsky; Michelangelo Antonioni; Tonino Guerra; authorship; screenwriting; writer-director-relationship

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Art and Design, Helsinki.

Publication date: January 1, 2010

More about this publication?
  • The Journal of Screenwriting aims to explore the nature of writing for the moving image in the broadest sense, highlighting current academic thinking around scriptwriting whilst also reflecting on this with a truly international perspective and outlook. The journal will encourage the investigation of a broad range of possible methodologies and approaches to studying the scriptwriting form, in particular: the history of the form, contextual analysis, the process of writing for the moving image, the relationship of scriptwriting to the production process and how the form can be considered in terms of culture and society. The journal also aims to encourage research in the field of screenwriting, the linking of scriptwriting practice to academic theory, and to support and promote conferences and networking events on this subject.
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