The legendary Italian photojournalist Paolo Di Paolo is the subject of the new documentary The Treasure of His Youth: the Photographs of Paolo Di Paolo. Bruce Weber’s stylish new film about the beauty and grandeur of post-war Italy, and the photographer who portrayed it will receive its US theatrical premiere at New York’s Film Forum on Friday, December 9.
As Italy emerged from rubble and poverty after World War II, a new era began in which Italian movie stars and intellectuals became international celebrities. From 1954–1968, Paolo Di Paolo took stunning, candid, elegant photographs of Anna Magnani, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Giorgio de Chirico, Alberto Moravia, Marcello Mastroianni, Sophia Loren, Brigitte Bardot, Yves Montand, Simone Signoret, Grace Kelly, and a mind-boggling host of others. But by the late ‘60s, the photographer had hung up his Leica, uncomfortable with the sensibility of sensationalism that younger paparazzi brought to the job.
Decades later, his grown daughter Silvia, who never knew of her father’s earlier career, discovers his long-hidden archive — some of the most gorgeous images of European glamour ever created. American photographer/filmmaker Bruce Weber (Let’s Get Lost, Chop Suey), deeply admiring of Paolo Di Paolo’s work, meets with the now 97-year-old to consider his life and the world he recorded, one neatly summed up by Tennessee Williams: “When I die, let me just go to Italy.”
Watch the trailer for The Treasure of His Youth: the Photographs of Paolo Di Paolo.