Cannes 2016: after the disappointment for the absence of any Italian films in competition for the Palme d’Or (although we have Valeria Golino on the jury), we are smiling again: our film industry is alive and kicking. Particularly with regard to young filmmakers, non-mainstream, courageous and unconventional works, “collateral” and less standardized views, albeit from acclaimed filmmakers overlooked by the solemnity of the competition.
So here is the list, the catalogue of movies which will give us a good reason to root for Italy at Cannes.
We start with «Pericle» by Stefano Mordini, in Un Certain Regard, the big Festival’s “curious and experimental” section.
Based on Giuseppe Ferrandino’s extremely dark novel, it is a movie without redemption about a mobster who works for the Cammorra featuring Riccardo Scamarcio in the title role.
The big surprise comes in the Quinzaine des Réalisateurs (Directors’ Fortnight), where three works have been selected which couldn’t be more different as they represent different pathways of our cinema and of Italy itself.
«Sweet Dreams» by Marco Bellocchio is the opening movie. Produced by Beppe Caschetto’s IBC Movie in coproduction with France’s Kavac Film, with a very prestigious cast: Valerio Mastandrea, Piera Degli Esposti, Roberto Herlitzka and Fabrizio Gifuni, it is based on Massimo Gramellini’s autobiography and is another (albeit distant) elaboration of grief for the loss of his mother.
«Fiore» by Claudio Giovannesi is a small film without horizons because it is situated behind bars. It is a love story consisting of nothing more than glances and secret notes set behind the walls of a juvenile prison.
There is nothing in common about these two movies, but they have a lot in common: the photography by Daniele Ciprì, the presence in the cast of Valerio Mastandrea, the production by IBC Movie.
Paolo Virzì’s «Like crazy» is an Italian-French coproduction (Lotus Prod. and Manny Film) that is already being called the Italian «Thelma and Louise».
It stars Valeria Bruni Tedeschi and Micaela Ramazzotti, imperfect and improbable friends who escape from a mental institution on board an old Lancia which, despite being red, is very reminiscent of «Il sorpasso». Virzì also wrote the screenplay with Francesca Archibugi.
Alessandro Comodin, on the other hand, now on his second work after «L’estate di Giacomo-Summer of Giacomo», is our man at Critics’ Week. This always very strict and, above all, prudent section has chosen his «Happy times will come soon»: another coproduction with France (Okta Film, Shellac Sud and Arte France) and another story about an escape – that of two kids during the war, from a prison in a forest – that pales into legend.
Plus: in the official section but out of competition, in a special midnight screenings section, flying an Italian-French-Greek flag, is the documentary «The last beach» by Athenian Thanos Anastopoulos and Trieste’s Davide Del Degan.
These are joined at the Atelier de Cinéfondation by Laura Samani’s «The sleeping saint», a Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia production and, in the shorts competition, «The silence» by Farnoosh Samadi and Ali Asgari, Iranians who studied in Italy and have been funded by Giovanni Pompili’s Kino Produzioni: in a hospital a female doctor speaks to a woman, a Kurdish refugee; the daughter, who should be translating, remains silent.
This is the first time in 20 years that an Italian producer is competing for the Palme d’Or in this section.
Each work has been funded, in different ways, by the MiBACT, film commissions or regional audiovisual funds.
Rai Cinema is the minimum common denominator of all the feature movies: shrewdness, luck or because it is the only entity willing to support arthouse cinema?