In Remembrance: Jose Giovanni

     Jose Giovanni, the French writer and director who drew on his experiences of being imprisoned after World War II for his early novel and film work, has passed away on Saturday, April 26, 2004 in Lausanne, Switzerland. He was 80.

     Giovanni was born in Paris, France on June 22, 1923. He had spent time as a mountain guide in the Alps and as a member of the French Resistance during World War II before he was arrested for gang activities. Sentenced to death row, his father worked hard to earn his eventual release. Giovanni turned this story into his last film My Father: How He Saved My Life (2000).

     Following his release from prison, he published his first novel The Hole, based on his experience behind bars and participation in a prison break attempt. The book was such a success that it landed Giovanni a here book deal. In addition, he scripted the 1959 film Du rififi chez les femmes (The Riff Raff Girls). He then wrote the screenplay adaptation of The Hole for director Jacques Becker. He continued writing both screenplays and novels.

     In 1967, he tried his hand at directing with Law Of Survival, which he adapted from his novel Les Aventuriers. He would go on to direct a total of 15 films over his career. In 1969 Giovanni wrote the screenplay for the hit film The Sicilian Clan for director Henri Verneuil.