Strong showing seen as sign of revival

ROME — Italy’s robust presence at the upcoming 61st Cannes Film Festival was front page news Thursday in the country’s top dailies, which are hailing the three Italian titles unspooling in the Official Selection as a sign of the local industry’s new vitality.

Press is underlining that the two Italo pics in the Cannes competish, Matteo Garrone’s gritty “Gomorra,” depicting Neapolitan organized crime, and Paolo Sorrentino’s “Il Divo,” about shady seven-time Italian prime minister Giulio Andreotti tried for Mafia ties, and acquitted, will certainly not portray a “postcard Italy,” as Corriere della Sera put it.

The Italian papers are also trumpeting hot thesp Toni Servillo’s presence in both the competish titles. Servillo recently took the best actor statuette at Italy’s David di Donatello awards as protag of Andrea Molaioli’s “The Girl by the Lake.”

“It gives me great pride and satisfaction to be going to Cannes with two directors who are under 40,” Servillo enthused to La Repubblica.

Older helmer Marco Tullio Giordana is predicting that his Cannes Special Screening entry “Sangue Pazzo” (Crazy Blood), a biopic of cocaine-addicted Fascist-era movie stars Osvaldo Valenti and Luisa Ferida, who is played by Monica Bellucci, will cause controversy in Italy. The pair died gunned down by anti-Fascist partisans.

Meanwhile, Italy’s film community is also on cloud nine that Francesco Munzi’s sophomore effort “Il resto della notte,” an immigration phobia drama set in Italy’s wealthy Northeast, has made the cut for the Cannes Directors’ Fortnight, although that lineup has yet to be officially announced.

Also flying the Italian flag on the Croisette this year is thesp Sergio Castellitto, who is on the main jury, while A-list Italo actress Giovanna Mezzogiorno is protag of Wim Wenders’ competish pic “The Palermo Shooting,” shot in the Sicilian capital and partly financed by the Sicily Film Commission.

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