Palme d'Or winner starts Moretti fest in Hollywood

ROME — Cannes Film Fest Palme d’Or winner “The Son’s Room” will have its North American premiere later this month at the American Cinematheque in Hollywood as the opening film of a complete retrospective of the work of Italian writer-director-actor Nanni Moretti.

Kicking off May 31 with Moretti in attendance and running through June 3, the traveling retro will allow U.S. and Canadian audiences to see several films by the director not previously distributed in North America.

While Moretti’s 1994 breakthrough “Caro Diario” and 1989′s “Palombella Rossa” both had theatrical runs in the U.S., other titles screening in the retrospective have had only limited festival exposure in North America. These include “Io sono un autarchico,” “Ecce bombo,” “Sogni d’oro,” “Bianca,” “The Mass Is Ended” and “Aprile.”

Organized by Cinecitta Holding, the umbrella company covering the Rome studios, the pics will travel to New York, unspooling June 8-24 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and continuing thereafter to 10 key cities across the U.S. and Canada. English-subtitled prints of all titles have been struck for the tour.

“We’ve been working with Moretti and (his production company) Sacher Film for months on this initiative, which coincides with Nanni’s triumph at Cannes,” Cinecitta Holding president Felice Laudadio said. “This will be an event of exceptional importance for Italian cinema, which has been experiencing a strong revival in the past year.”

Laudadio announced that plans also are being studied to take the complete retrospective to China.

While several offers for U.S. theatrical distribution reportedly were received prior to and during Cannes by Paris-based sales agent Wild Bunch, which is handling world rights, no deal for North America had been closed by the end of the festival.

However, with the Palme d’Or acting as an added incentive, a U.S. acquisition is expected to be firmed shortly, which may impact plans for the retrospective screenings.

The victory Sunday night of “The Son’s Room” marks the first time Cannes’ top prize has gone to an Italian feature since 1978, when Ermanno Olmi’s “Tree of Wooden Clogs” won. Olmi’s latest feature, “The Profession of Arms,” also was screened in competition at Cannes this year, drawing a mixed critical response.

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