Celebrated Italian writer-director Vittorio Taviani, winner of the Palme d’Or and Berlin Golden Bear, has died aged 88. He passed after a long illness, his daughter has confirmed to Italian media.

The director formed one half an acclaimed filmmaking duo with his brother Paolo: the two were known as the Taviani Brothers. The siblings became household names in Italy in the 1960s and worked on more than 20 movies together including 1977 Palme d’Or winner Padre Padrone and docudrama Caesar Must Die, which won the Golden Bear for best film at Berlin in 2012.

The former charted the story of Gavino Ledda, the son of a Sardinian shepherd, and how he managed to escape his harsh, almost barbaric existence by slowly educating himself, despite violent opposition from his brutal father. Caesar Must Die is the story of inmates at a high-security prison in Rome who prepare for a public performance of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar.

So close was the brothers’ partnership that Italian actor Marcello Mastroianni called them individually ‘PaoloVittorio’. The pair often adapted high-brow literature, including works by the Italian author Luigi Pirandello (Kaos and You Laugh), Russia’s Leo Tolstoy (Resurrection and Night Sun) and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Elective Affinities). The last movie on which they shared a directing credit was 2015 title Wondrous Boccaccio, whose cast included Italian actors Riccardo Scamarcio and Kim Rossi Stuart.

Taviani was born in San Miniato, Tuscany, in 1929. He began his professional life as a journalist before joining forces with his brother, initially making documentaries before transferring to narrative features.