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Carlo Di Palma, innovative Italian cinematographer

ROME -- Italian cinematographer Carlo Di Palma, who made innovative use of color and darkness in great films by Woody Allen, Michelangelo Antonioni, and numerous Italian comedy directors, has died. He was 79.

Mr. Di Palma died Friday in Rome, the city where he was born. His family said he had suffered a long illness, but did not specify the cause of death.

Mr. Di Palma began working in film during the 1940s. But it was his innovative work for Antonioni's ''Red Desert" in 1964 that first won him international acclaim.

Irene Bignardi, a leading Italian film critic who wrote a memorial tribute in La Repubblica newspaper, described Di Palma's use of color in that film as ''wholly new and totally unconventional," and said the result was ''poetic and abstract."

Two years after ''Red Desert," Mr. Di Palma worked on Antonioni's ''Blow-Up," which remains one of the director's most popular films.

In the 1960s and 1970s, Mr. Di Palma also worked on some of the great Italian comedies, such as ''Divorce, Italian Style" with Marcello Mastroianni, set in Sicily; Mario Monicelli's ''Girl with a Pistol," which starred actress Monica Vitti; and ''For Love and Gold," also by Monicelli.

Mr. Di Palma's collaboration with Allen started in 1986, with ''Hannah and Her Sisters," and continued for 10 more films over 10 years.

In ''Shadows and Fog" -- Allen's 1992 homage to German expressionism -- Mr. Di Palma made a small European community mysterious and dark.

In the 1994 film ''Bullets over Broadway," he gave 1920s New York the red-brown color of autumn.

Other Allen movies Mr. Di Palma worked on include ''Radio Days," ''September," ''Alice," ''Husbands and Wives," ''Manhattan Murder Mystery," ''Mighty Aphrodite," and ''Everyone Says I Love You."

Their last collaboration was ''Deconstructing Harry" in 1997.

He leaves his wife and a daughter, Valentina.

A funeral service was held Monday in Rome.

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