From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Armand Gatti (January 26, 1924 – April 6, 2017) was a French playwright, poet, journalist, screenwriter, filmmaker and World War II resistance fighter. His debut film Enclosure was entered into the 2nd Moscow International Film Festival where he won the Silver Prize for Best Director. Two years later, his film El Otro Cristóbal was entered into the 1963 Cannes Film Festival.
In 2013 he was awarded the Grand prix du théâtre de l'Académie française.
One of the most acclaimed theater writer/directors of the 20th century, Gatti was originally a member of the informal Left Bank group of filmmakers that included Alain Resnais, Chris Marker, Agnès Varda, Henri Colpi and Jean Cayrol, but because none of his films have been released on video in the US, he remains an elusive figure for many cinephiles. He appears in Resnais’ Toute la mémoire du monde (1956) and in Marker’s Immemory CD-Rom; he wrote China (1956) for Marker’s Petite Planète collection and traveled with Marker in the making of Letter from Siberia (1957), which inspired his book Siberia — Zero + Infinity the following year.
According to his 1989 biographer, Dorothy Knowles, Gatti was born in 1924 in a shantytown in Monaco to Auguste Rainier an Italian anarchist from Piedmont, who escaped murder in a Chicago slaughterhouse because of his political activities and fled Benito Mussolini’s regime and to Letizia Lusona a maid. During World War II, Gatti joined a small French resistance maquis. Captured, tortured, and sentenced to a concentration camp in Hamburg where he was forced to work in a diving bell at the bottom of the Baltic Sea, Gatti eventually escaped and joined a British Special Air Service special forces team. After the war, he worked as an award-winning journalist for many years until he traveled with Marker, published his first plays, and directed his first film, Enclosure (L'Enclos, 1961).
L’Enclos was screened out of competition at the Cannes Film Festival but it was hailed by Truffaut, Resnais, Cocteau and others.
He died on April 6, 2017.
- 1957 Le Poisson noir (awarded Fénéon Prize)