Gualtiero Jacopetti (1919–2011) was an Italian documentary filmmaker and screenwriter. He is best known for his work on the Mondo Cane films, which explored social issues, and often featured shock value and bizarre footage.
Jacopetti was born in 1919 in Rome, Italy. He studied philosophy and medicine at the Sapienza University of Rome, but left his studies to become a journalist. He wrote for various magazines, including L’Europeo and Il Mondo, and soon became well known for his controversial and interesting stories.
In 1956, he was hired by the Italian media company Belbo Films, and together with Franco Prosperi and Paolo Cavara he wrote, directed, and produced the first Mondo Cane film. The film was an instant success, and it spawned two sequels, Mondo Cane 2 and Mondo Cane 3 in 1963 and 1964, respectively.
The Mondo Cane films featured footage from all over the world, highlighting shocking and often bizarre events. They were criticized for being exploitative and sensationalistic, but they also had a profound impact on the documentary genre.
Jacopetti also made several other documentaries, such as Africa Addio (1966), which focused on the struggle for independence in Africa, and Farewell Uncle Tom (1971), which highlighted the issue of slavery.
In the 1970s, Jacopetti shifted his focus to feature films, writing and directing the comedy Amarcord (1974) and the drama Padre Padrone (1977). He also co-wrote the script for the spaghetti western A Genius, Two Partners and a Dupe (1975).
Jacopetti's later films were not as successful as his earlier works, and he retired from filmmaking in 1982. He died in 2011 at the age of 92.
Jacopetti's work was controversial, but it was also influential and groundbreaking. His Mondo Cane films were some of the most popular and influential documentaries of their time, and his feature films were also praised for their unique combination of comedy and drama. Jacopetti's work was a unique and important part of the history of Italian cinema.