Director Carlo Lizzani has died after reportedly falling from the balcony of his home in Rome, Italy.

News of the 91 year old's death was reported by Italian media outlets on Saturday (05Oct13), with local news agencies suggesting authorities are investigating whether it was a suicide.

Lizzani directed the 1968 film The Violent Four and served as head of the prestigious Venice Film Festival for four years, while also collaborating with fellow directors including Jean-Luc Godard, Bernardo Bertolucci and Pier Paolo Pasolini.

He was also nominated for an Academy Award as the screenwriter for Giuseppe De Santis' 1950 film Bitter Rice, and he was given a writing credit for Roberto Rossellini's Germany Year Zero.

Italian President Giorgio Napolitano, a friend of Lizzani's for decades, has paid tribute to the director, praising his contributions to "cinema, to culture and to the democratic development of our country".