Found this HBO documentary about Gianni Agnelli on Sky NZ while grazing the Soho schedule a couple of weeks ago. Recorded it, just got around to watching it, and so glad I did. While the Agnelli FIAT connection got my attention this was very much about the man, the family, their impact on Italy and its place in the world, rather than a dry profile of a business man or car company history.
Beautifully shot, a mixture of modern interviews and archive family footage, in stunning locations (many their homes!) it is a wonderful, and honest, portrayal. They didn't skip over his failings, dubious dealings (both within the family and business/politics), or the terrorist/political problems they lived with. In the 1970s FIAT management, along with Italian Politicians/Justice figures, were literally being assassinated in the street by ‘the Red Brigade’. The documentary is broken into ‘chapters’, the "Years of Lead" being one.
It seemed, from what I know of the family, fairly presented. They lived a privileged life but also paid a high price for it. I don't know if Sky will repeat it, no sign in the current schedule, but if you have access to HBO it’s well worth a watch
Tradition prepared him. Passion defined him. Considered by many to be “the prince” of Italy, legendary industrialist and jet-setter Gianni Agnelli was a cultural icon who embodied strength, calm and prosperity in the aftermath of World War II and into the new millennium. An intimate portrait of the man who became a symbol of Italy’s post-war renaissance, Agnelli is directed by Nick Hooker, and executive produced Graydon Carter (HBO’s Public Speaking, His Way, Everything Is Copy – Nora Ephron: Scripted & Unscripted).
Chronicling the dramatic life of the charismatic head of FIAT, this compelling portrait features intimate interviews with nearly 40 family members, friends, professional confidantes and rivals, including: his sisters and other relatives; former lovers; current and former FIAT employees and executives; his butler and cook; and journalists, historians and friends, among them Henry Kissinger, Valentino, Jackie Rogers, Sally Bedell Smith, Roger Cohen, Jas Gawronski, Lee Radziwill and his niece, Diane von Furstenberg.
Agnelli features newly discovered Super 8 footage shot by Benno Graziani and iconic portraits by Richard Avedon and Ugo Mulas, along with a wealth of archival video and personal photos that help paint a complex portrait of the FIAT leader, who was an urbane, well-spoken international figure of intrigue and a politically powerful, restless jet-setter who valued family, but had failings as a father.
Agnelli had its world premiere at the 2017 Venice Film Festival, and is executive produced by Graydon Carter; produced by Matt Parker, Carly Hugo and Annabelle Dunne; directed by Nick Hooker; edited by Chad Beck; directors of photography, Sofian El Fani and Wyatt Garfield; music by Paul Cantelon.
HBO: What was your goal going into the film?
Nick Hooker: Gianni was a huge political power, not just in Italy but also in representing Italy on the world stage. We had this challenge to somehow zoom in in a very intimate way, in terms of his family and way he lived his life, and then to zoom out and see him operate on a bigger stage…