Film noir wins five prizes at Italian awards

Giuseppe Tornatore’s white slavery noir “The Unknown” took the top nods at Italy’s David di Donatello prizes, scooping five statuettes — including for best picture and director — as the country’s auteurs clamored for a new film law that could help capitalize on a resurgence of local pics at the home B.O.

Tornatore’s dark tale of a secretive Eastern European prostitute-turned-cleaning lady haunted by her pimp also took the actress nod for its Russian protag Ksenia Rappoport, plus Davids for cinematography and score, this last won by Ennio Morricone.

Produced by Medusa and sold in a slew of teritories, but not Stateside, “The Unknown” had led the race with 12 noms.

Daniele Luchetti’s political comedy “My Brother Is an Only Child,” one of two other main contenders, also took five Davids, including screenplay and the actor prize won by Elio Germano, who plays a young neo-Fascist in the pic co-produced by Cattleya and Warner Bros. that recently unspooled in Cannes.

“The Golden Door” by Emanuele Crialese, which had been the other front-runner with 11 noms, took three tech prizes, turning out to be the ceremony’s big loser. The Ellis Island immigration drama on U.S. release via Miramax underperformed locally last year after nabbing the Venice Silver Lion.

Debuting director nod went to thesp-turned-helmer Kim Rossi Stewart for his powerfully understated father-and-son drama “Along the Ridge.” Rushed televised ceremony in a scarcely air-conditioned tent on Rome’s outskirts was marked by an on-stage appeal made by thesp Michele Placido for a film law that would bring more resources by introducing tax breaks as well as more subsidies.

“Italian cinema is subsidized 10 times less than in France,” lamented Placido on the podium on behalf of CentoAutori, a newly founded filmmakers lobbying group whose members include Bernardo Bertolucci.

So far this year Italian films have accounted for more than one-third of the growing local box office, their highest market share in years.

The only non-Italian spotted in attendance was Pedro Almodovar — knighted by Italian President Giorgio Napoletano earlier in the day — who looked bored out of his sweaty skull and wore big shades under the blare of the potent tent-lights.

And the winners are…

PICTURE
“The Unknown,” Giuseppe Tornatore

DIRECTOR
Giuseppe Tornatore, “The Unknown”

DEBUTING DIRECTOR
Kim Rossi Stewart, “Along the Ridge”

SCREENPLAY
Stefano Rulli, Daniele Luchetti, “My Brother Is an Only Child”

PRODUCER
Donatella Botti, “Salty Air”

ACTRESS
Ksenia Rappoport, “The Unknown”

ACTOR
Elio Germano, “My Brother Is an Only Child”

SUPPORTING ACTRESS (tie)
Ambra Angioini, “Saturn in Opposition”
Angela Finocchiaro, “My Brother Is an Only Child”

SUPPORTING ACTOR
Giorgio Colangeli, “Salty Air”

CINEMATOGRAPHY
Fabio Zamarion, “The Unknown”

SCORE
Ennio Morricone, “The Unknown”

ORIGINAL SONG
Daniele Silvestri, “Notturno Bus”

PRODUCTION DESIGN
Carlos Conti, “The Golden Door”

COSTUME DESIGN
Mariano Tufano, “The Golden Door”

EDITING
Mirco Garrone, “My Brother Is an Only Child”

SOUND
Bruno Pupparo, “My Brother Is an Only Child”

SPECIAL VISUAL EFFECTS
L’Etude Et La Supervision Des Trucages, “The Golden Door”

BEST EUROPEAN UNION FILM
“The Lives of Others”

FOREIGN FILM
“Babel”

DAVID FOR CHILDREN’S FILMS
“Rosso Come Il Cielo,” Cristiano Bortone

SHORT
“Meridionali Senza Filtro,” Michele Bia Torino

PIEMONTE FILM COMMISSION PRIZE
“One Hundred Nails,” Ermanno Olmi

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