The writer-director associated with the Italian Neorealism died yesterday in a fall from the third-floor balcony of his apartment in his hometown of Rome. Carlo Lizzani was 91. Local media reports said he left a suicide note. He started as a film critic before segueing to screenwriting. One of his earliest scripts, 1949’s Bitter Rice, earned Lizzani his only Academy Award nomination. He went on to write and/or direct dozens of movies, working with such heralded filmmakers as Bernardo Bertolucci, Jean-Luc Godard and Marco Bellocchio. A longtime favorite on the festival circuit, Lizzani’s credits include Chronicle Of Poor Lovers (1954), which won the International Prize at Cannes and was a Palme d’Or finalist; La vita agra (1964), which won the FIPRESCI Prize at Karlovy Vary; and The Violent Four (1968) and Love & Anger (1969), both of which won the Golden Bear at Venice. He also directed the Venice Film Festival from 1979 to 1982. Biennale President Paolo Baratta told the AP: “The Biennale is crying on the day of Carlo Lizzani’s death. He knew how to give the festival new energy. He knew how to create a nucleus of young students and experts that would represent in future years the true elite.” Lizzani received a Career David from Italy’s David di Donatello Awards in 2007.

Related: R.I.P. Italian Screenwriter Luciano Vincenzoni