Director: Mimmo Calopresti
Producer: Dania Film, Istituto Luce
Cast: Gerard Depardieu, Valeria Bruni Tedeschi
Plot: Two young filmmakers go to Cannes seeking a star for their first project.
Why it’s hot: Usually heavy Calopresti, whose Holocaust docu “I Only Wanted to Live” unspooled in Cannes last year, takes a lighter tack with his first comedy graced by a star-studded cast. Calopresti served on the Cannes jury in 2001.
Director: Matteo Garrone
Producer: Domenico Procacci
Plot: A contempo Neapolitan mob drama based on an expose of Italy’s criminal underbelly.
Why it’s hot: ambitious project by the young helmer known for “The Embalmer” and “First Love” is based on a hard-hitting recent Italo bestseller that Farrar, Strauss & Giraux will publish in the U.S.
Title: “Come Dio Comanda” (As God Commands)
Director: Gabriele Salvatores
Producer: Maurizio Totti, RAI Cinema
Plot: A father-and-son drama centered around an 11-year-old boy named Cristiano and his neo-Nazi dad.
Why it’s hot: based on a recent book, this project re-unites Oscar-winning Salvatores with hot Italo novelist Niccolo Ammaniti, following their collaboration on kidnapped child drama “I’m Not Scared,” released Stateside by Miramax.
Title: “Caos Calmo” (Calm Chaos)
Director: Antonello Grimaldi
Producer: Domenico Procacci, RAI Cinema
Cast: Nanni Moretti
Plot: Moretti plays a Milan paybox exec helping his 10-year-old daughter come to terms with the death of her mother, his wife. Why it’s hot: Bereavement becomes Moretti, just think: “The Son’s Room.” Even though this time Nanni’s not directing, he co-penned the script.
Title: “Sangue Pazzo” (Crazy Blood)
Director: Marco Tullio Giordana
Producer: Angelo Barbagallo
Cast: Monica Bellucci, Luca Zingaretti
Plot: biopic of flamboyant Fascist-era thesping couple Osvaldo Valenti and Luisa Ferida.
Why it’s hot: Marks Giordana’s return to depicting Italy’s recent historical past, following his 1968-themed “Best of Youth.” Bellucci likely also to be a draw as Mussolini-era diva.
Title: “Lesson 21”
Director: Alessandro Baricco
Producer: Domenico Procacci
Cast: Noah Taylor, John Hurt
Plot: A student is blown away by a mad music professor’s potent lecture about Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy.”
Why it’s hot: Baricco is the internationally best-selling author of several novels, including “Silk,” adapted for the bigscreen by Francois Girard.
Title: “Noi Credevamo” (We Believed)
Director: Mario Martone
Producer: RAI Cinema, Eskimosa
Cast: Luigi Lo Cascio
Plot: Tale of three young patriots who, between 1830 and 1863, fight to unify fragmented Italy into a single state.
Why it’s hot: Martone, who went to Cannes with “L’amore molesto,” is one of Italy’s hottest new helmers.
Title: Untitled Mussolini illegitimate son project
Director: Marco Bellocchio
Producer: RAI Cinema
Plot: Pic will tackle the long-suppressed tale of Mussolini’s illegitimate son, also named Benito, who died at age 27 in a mental institution where he had been relegated by fascist militiamen.
Why it’s hot: A revered auteur takes on a tale inspired by a skeleton that has long been buried inside the country’s collective closet.
Director: Paolo Sorrentino
Producer: Nicola Giuliano
Plot: biopic of Giulio Andreotti, Italy’s former seven-time prime minister who has been tried, but not convicted, of Mafia ties and of ordering the assassination of a journalist.
Why it’s hot: “Hot button” doesn’t begin to describe the subject matter of this pic by one of Italy’s most talented young helmers.
Title: “Signorina Effe”
Director: Wilma Labate
Producer: Donatella Botti, Bianca Film
Cast: Fausto Paravidino, Sabrina Impacciatore, Valeria Solarino
Plot: Factory-set love story set against the backdrop of a historic 1980 strike at automaker Fiat.
Why it’s hot: Labate proved a sharp social observer with her previous drama, “My Generation.”