Indie gives up government cash for terror pic

Italy’s turbulent terrorist past has caught up with local indie Lucky Red on the eve of its release of the country’s first movie based on a convicted leftist guerrilla’s memoir.

The shingle headed by Andrea Occhipinti has announced it will voluntarily renounce its government subsidies for political thriller “The Front Line,” following heated discussion prior to its local outing this weekend.

“Front Line,” which is co-produced by Lucky Red with venerable Belgian directorial duo the Dardennes brothers — wearing their producer hats — depicts a daredevil commando attack by members of a disbanded Red Brigades-like terrorist guerrilla group on a high-security Italo jail. Helmed by Renato De Maria (“Amatemi”), the Italo thriller with obvious analogies to German terrorist biopic “The Baader Meinhof Complex,” was made on a $7.5 million budget.

Lucky Red had requested nearly one-third of the financing for “Front Line” from Italy’s national film fund. After much deliberation $2.3 million coin had been allocated for the pic, pending a final meeting of the fund’s commission next week. Meanwhile, “polemics have taken over,” lamented Occhipinti in a statement announcing Lucky Red’s decision not to pursue Italo government coin any further for “Front Line.”

Earlier this week Italo Culture Czar Sandro Bondi said even though he did not consider “Front Line” a pro-terrorism pic, he felt the government should not subsidise it.

The recent polemics Occhipinti was referring to also include protests from family members of leftist terrorism victims, some of whom were livid at the prospect that “Front Line” could be granted government coin. Some were also up in arms about the fact that the pic starred local heartthrob Riccardo Scamarcio as a “cool and hunky terrorist,” as lamented by Benedetta Tobagi, whose father, a journo, was gunned down by a leftist cell in 1980.

Hot Italo thesp Giovanna Mezzogiorno (“Vincere”) plays the protag’s incarcerated lovebird.

“We made this film intending to depict an important and painful chapter of our country’s recent history,” said Occhipinti. “Now we hope audiences will be able to judge the film without the distortions of useless polemics.”

“Front Line,” which received co-production coin from European funding agency Eurimages, goes out on 150 Italo screens today via Lucky Red.

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