Vittorio Taviani, of Italian brother directing team, dead at 88

Prize-winning Italian film director Vittorio Taviani has died at the age of 88.

Filmmaker captured top awards at Berlin and Cannes film festivals alongside brother Paolo

Vittorio Taviani, left, has died at the age of 88 after directing films for 50 years with his brother Paolo, right. Here they're shown winning the Golden Bear for best film at the Berlin film festival in 2012. (Gero Breloer/The Associated Press)

Prize-winning Italian film director Vittorio Taviani has died at the age of 88.

With his brother Paolo Taviani, Vittorio Taviani created masterpieces of the Italian cinema which claimed top honours at the Cannes and Berlin film festivals.

Italian President Sergio Mattarella said in a statement that Taviani's death Sunday after a long illness "is a great loss for Italian cinema and culture, which are losing an undeniable and beloved protagonist."

The Taviani brothers built a 50-year career but were in their early 80s when they won the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival in 2012 for the documentary Caesar Must Die. It showed inmates of a high-security prison staging the Shakespearean tragedy. They won the Palm d'or at Cannes in 1977 for their film Padre padrone.

Paolo Taviani is 86.