Actor, journalist, film writer and critic who was an expert on Italian cinema
The British journalist John Francis Lane, who has died aged 89, provided a vivid running commentary on Italian cinema for more than half a century, from the last great years of neorealism up to the present. He came to know many of the leading directors and stars and worked for a time as a publicist in Cinecittà, Hollywood-on-the-Tiber as it was called, and also as an actor, playing cameo parts in many films made there.
He lost count of the precise number – the IMDb database lists 29 movie and TV appearances – but he thought the actual figure was much higher. Some of them, for Federico Fellini, Michelangelo Antonioni, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Francesco Rosi and others, became classics. The experience greatly enriched his insight into, as he put it, the “often bizarre methods of film-making in Italy” as well as into the industry’s great achievements.