Gillo Pontecorvo was an Italian filmmaker. He worked as a film director for more than a decade before his best known film La battaglia di Algeri (The Battle of Algiers, 1966) was released. It won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival in 1966.His other films include Kapò (1960), which takes place in a World War II concentration camp, and Burn! (Queimada, 1969), starring Marlon Brando and loosely based on the failed slave revolution in Guadeloupe. In 2000, he received the Pietro Bianchi Award at the Venice Film Festival. He was also a screenwriter and composer of film scores, and a close friend of the Italian President Giorgio Napolitano.Early lifePontecorvo, born in Pisa, was the son of a wealthy non-observant Italian Jewish family. His father was a businessman. Gillo was the brother of Bruno Pontecorvo, an internationally acclaimed physicist and one of the so-called Via Panisperna boys; Guido Pontecorvo, a geneticist; Paolo Pontecorvo, an engineer who worked on radar after WWII; Giuliana (m.Talbet); Laura (m.Coppa); Anna (m. Newton); and David Maraoni.Gillo Pontecorvo studied chemistry at the University of Pisa, but dropped out after passing just two exams. It was there that he first became aware of opposing political forces, coming into contact with leftist students and professors for the first time. In 1938, faced with growing anti-Semitism, he followed his elder brother Bruno to Paris, where he was able to find work in journalism and as a tennis instructor.