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Auteurs Reborn: Andrei Tarkovsky’s Life Gets TV Series, Sergio Leone Documentary in the Works

Directed by Kirill Serebrennikov, the series has emerged out of the virtual Cannes marketplace. Meanwhile, Francesco Zippel will helm a Leone tribute.




Classic cinephiles are in for a treat with two new projects coming to screens. The life of legendary Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky is getting the limited series treatment, as revealed with the announcement of a new project out of the ongoing Cannes virtual marketplace. Meanwhile, Pulse Films has partnered with the Sergio Leone estate to mount a documentary in tribute to the late, great pioneer of Spaghetti Westerns.

As first reported by Variety, Kirill Serebrennikov will write and direct the series about Tarkovsky, and it will be produced by Ilya Stewart, Murad Osmann, and Pavel Burya of the Moscow-based company Hype Film. Tarkovsky’s film career in the Soviet Union yielded seven features, all considered masterpieces by most, including “Ivan’s Childhood,” “Andrei Rublev,” “Solaris,” “The Mirror,” “Stalker,” “Nostalghia,” and “The Sacrifice.” Tarkovsky died in 1986. Hype Film previously repped Kirill Serebrennikov’s films “Leto,” a 2018 Cannes competition title about an underground rock music scene, and 2016’s “The Student,” which played in the Un Certain Regard section at Cannes. This marks Serebrennikov’s first move into a dramatic series.

The documentary on Sergio Leone, meanwhile, will offer an official overview authorized by the Leone family and will give viewers a portrait of the artist behind such films as “A Fistful of Dollars,” “For a Few Dollars More,” and “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” — what’s known as the Dollars Trilogy — as well as the epic, four-hour feature “Once Upon a Time in America,” which was his last movie. Leone died in 1989.

The documentary will be written and directed by Francesco Zippel (the filmmaker behind “Fantastic Mr. Fellini,” a Sky Arte documentary featuring Wes Anderson, and “Friedkin Uncut,” which premiered at the Venice Film Festival and won the Silver Ribbon for Best Documentary of the Year) and will include exclusive archive material from the Cineteca di Bologna. The Cineteca recently organized a successful exhibition dedicated to Sergio Leone in Paris at the Cinemathéque Française and at the Ara Pacis in Rome. The Cineteca’s founding director Gianluca Farinelli and his team carried out an exhaustive search for materials related to Sergio Leone and these will be presented in the film.

The Sergio Leone documentary will be executive-produced by Pulse Films’ Thomas Benski and Giorgio Testi.

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