Marina Cicogna, countess, the first major Italian film producer and one of the most powerful women in European cinema, died this Saturday in Rome at the age of 89, after a life in which she became an icon of nonconformity.

Born in Rome on May 29, 1934, daughter of Countess Annamaria Volpi di Misurata and Count Cesare Cicogna Mozzonin, she breathed cinema from a young age. Well, his powerful grandfather, Count Giuseppe Volpi di Misurata, was Minister of Finance, president of the Venice Biennale, and founder of the Venice Film Festival while his father began as a co-producer of works such as “Ladro di Biciclete” (Thief of bicycles) by Vittorio de Sica.

His life dedicated to cinema earned him the David di Donatello lifetime achievement award in 2023, the competition dedicated to Italian cinematography.

In the 1960s, her mother took over the production and distribution company Euro International Films, which Marina became the owner of in 1967 together with her younger brother Ascanio.

Euro International Film launched a large number of foreign films on the Italian market, often independent, such as Sidney Lumet’s “The Pawnbroker” (1964) or Luis Buñuel’s “Belle de Jour”, which no one was betting on and which won the Golden Lion in Venice in 1967.

He was in charge of the production of “C’era una volta il west” (Until his time came) by Sergio Leone, “Teorema” and “Medea” by Pier Paolo Pasolini or “Fratello sole e Sorella Luna” (Brother Sol, Sister Luna) by Franco Zeffirelli and “Un cittadino al di sopra di ogni sospetto” by Elio Petri, which won the Oscar for best foreign film in 1971.

After the suicide of her brother Ascanio and the financial crisis of the production company, Marina Cicogna worked for a brief period at Paramount, before closing production activity permanently and moving to the United States.

But her life also as a countess and member of the Italian upper echelons led her to have great friendships such as the couturier Valentino, Jeanne Moreau, Franco Zeffirelli, Pierre Cardin or Henry Fonda and numerous love stories with characters such as Alain Delon, Warren Beatty or Rock Hudson.

Her great love and friendship story was with Franco Rossellini, but she was also one of the first women in Italy who did not hide her bisexuality by having two relationships with Florinda Bolkan, whom she herself discovered and launched as an actress and with whom she was united 20 years and at the end of his life with Benedetta Gardona.

“Cinema has always been in my life, it was the crazy love of my life,” the one they called “the Countess of Cinecittà” liked to repeat.