skip navigation
Robert A. Ferretti

Robert A. Ferretti

| VIEW ALL

TCM Messageboards
Post your comments here
ADD YOUR COMMENT>

share:

TCM Archive Materials VIEW ALL ARCHIVES (0)

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A noted art director who became established in the Italian film industry before branching out into European co-productions and eventually landing in Hollywood, Dante Ferretti designed four films for Pier Paolo Pasolini ("The Decameron" 1971; "The Canterbury Tales" 1972; "The Arabian Nights" 1974; and "Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom" 1975) and five for Federico Fellini ("Orchestra Rehearsal" 1978; "City of Women" 1980; "And the Ship Sails On" 1983; "Ginger and Fred" 1986; and "The Voice of the Moon" 1990). Ferretti moved effortlessly from the down and dirty realism of the former to the dreamy artifice of the latter. He also worked with other major names in Italian filmmaking including Elio Petri, Marco Bellocchio, Liliana Cavani and Luigi Comencini. Ferretti's later international credits include Jean-Jacques Annaud's 13th-century mystery "The Name of the Rose" (1986), Terry Gilliam's fantasy extravaganza "The Adventures of Baron Munchausen" (1989), and Franco Zeffirelli's "Hamlet" (1990), the latter two earning him back-to-back Best Art Direction Oscar nominations. "He comes from a tradition that combines a lavish imagination with attention to period detail," remarked director Martin Scorsese in The...

A noted art director who became established in the Italian film industry before branching out into European co-productions and eventually landing in Hollywood, Dante Ferretti designed four films for Pier Paolo Pasolini ("The Decameron" 1971; "The Canterbury Tales" 1972; "The Arabian Nights" 1974; and "Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom" 1975) and five for Federico Fellini ("Orchestra Rehearsal" 1978; "City of Women" 1980; "And the Ship Sails On" 1983; "Ginger and Fred" 1986; and "The Voice of the Moon" 1990). Ferretti moved effortlessly from the down and dirty realism of the former to the dreamy artifice of the latter. He also worked with other major names in Italian filmmaking including Elio Petri, Marco Bellocchio, Liliana Cavani and Luigi Comencini. Ferretti's later international credits include Jean-Jacques Annaud's 13th-century mystery "The Name of the Rose" (1986), Terry Gilliam's fantasy extravaganza "The Adventures of Baron Munchausen" (1989), and Franco Zeffirelli's "Hamlet" (1990), the latter two earning him back-to-back Best Art Direction Oscar nominations.

"He comes from a tradition that combines a lavish imagination with attention to period detail," remarked director Martin Scorsese in The New York Times (November 27, 1994), "and those details can comment on the theme of the film." Ferretti did just that in his American debut, Scorsese's "The Age of Innocence" (1993), in which Daniel Day-Lewis' character is as overwhelmed by the oppressively opulent decor as by the propriety of his social circle. To achieve a stylized look of overripe elegance and baroque clutter for Neil Jordan's "Interview With the Vampire" (1994), Ferretti built sixty-five sets, thirty-four of them on the stages of Pinewood Studios, England, recreating six different periods from 1791 to the present as a backdrop for the film's toothsome shenanigans. Again, the two pictures earned him back-to-back Oscar nominations. After creating the harsh and garish look of Las Vegas in the 70s for Scorsese's "Casino" (1995), he reunited with the director to provide the authentic sets and costumes for "Kundun" (1997), the biography of the Dalai Lama. Ferretti's use of gold, saffron and maroon brought the story to vivid life, and he received Oscar nominations for both Best Art Direction and Best Costume Design.

From the low-budget constraints of the Moroccan-based "Kundun," Ferretti segued to the overblown production values of Martin Brest's "Meet Joe Black" (1998), for which he was again in top form expressing the elegant, luxurious world of its wealthy characters. Unfortunately, its story of Death assuming human form (in the handsome guise of Brad Pitt) was just too contrived and wispy to support heavy emotional investment. Scorsese's EMT drama "Bringing out the Dead" (1999) kept him in NYC concentrating first on Hell's Kitchen exteriors before moving into a raw space in Bellevue Hospital to create the fictional Mercy Hospital's ER. Brooklyn's Bedford Armory also served as a soundstage for several key scenes, most notably the garish pink interior of "the Oasis," the apartment of a drug dealer. Ferretti collaborated that year with another design visionary, Julie Taymor, on her directorial debut, "Titus." Mixing disparate elements (i.e., ancient and modern locations in Rome, Art Deco settings, technology from the 30s and the future), they freed the film to exist outside of time in a world where motorcycles raced side-by-side with chariots. He then accepted Scorsese's challenge to recreate the mid-1800s Gotham of Boss Tweed for the director's "Gangs of New York" (2002) and he soared when re-creating the lavish, glamorous Golden Age of Hollywood for Scorsese's much-admired follow-up "The Aviator" (2004), for which he and Francesca LoSchiavo collected the Oscar for Best Achievement in Art Direction. The pair continued their collaboration on the psychological thriller "Shutter Island" (2010) and the 3D fable "Hugo" (2011). Ferretti also worked with Brian De Palma on the thriller "The Black Dahlia" (2006) and the Tim Burton vehicle "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" (2007). In 2015, he collaborated with Kenneth Branagh on the fairy tale fantasy "Cinderella" (2015).

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  Fear (1988)

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Hit List (1989)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Please support TCMDB by adding to this information.

Click here to contribute