Franco Zeffirelli: Directing from Life

A documentary by Chris Hunt

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Cast Program notes More info


Franco Zeffirelli — Movie director, producer, scenography

Pippo Zeffirelli

Joan Plowright — Actress

Joan Sutherland — Soprano

Judi Dench — Actress

Richard Burton — Actor

Maggie Smith — Actress

Robert Powell — Actor

Stefano Trespidi

Plácido Domingo — Tenor

Sonia Friedman — Producer

Program notes

Franco Zeffirelli (1923 - 2019) was one of the most legendary directors of all time—not only for the opera stage, but also for the silver screen. Two years before his death, filmmaker Chris Hunt met up with Zeffirelli just before the inauguration of the Franco Zeffirelli Foundation in Florence, Italy, and sat down for interviews with him and many of his closes collaborators for this fascinating documentary on a modern-day visionary.

Hunt's documentary both explores the roots of Zeffirelli's sense of drama in his own life experience—complicated family relationships, the untimely death of his mother, the onset of war—and celebrates the friendships that closely marked his nearly 100 years on Earth, including Maria Callas (who inspired Zeffirelli's 2002 film Callas Forever) and acclaimed director Luchino Visconti. Alongside interviews with the likes of José Carreras and Joan Sutherland, Judi Dench and Maggie Smith, Hunt gives us a taste of the Zeffirelli brand with timeless selections from some of his most famous operas and films.

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Available until

Thursday, September 30, 2027