Young Italian producer Mario Gianani shepherded Marco Bellocchio’s Benito Mussolini drama “Vincere,” which unspools in the competish Tuesday, and is on the Croisette with high hopes for the pic, which he is calling a “very different” type of film from the veteran auteur.
Gianani is also tubthumping his next project, an upcoming adaptation of Italian bestseller “The Solitude of Prime Numbers.”
“Vincere,” centered around a child fathered out of wedlock by the fascist dictator, and named Benito like his father, was inspired by a RAI documentary “Mussolini’s Secret” by Fabrizio Laurenti and Gianfranco Norelli, which first divulged the dark historical detail.
The boy was kept hidden by the dictator, along with his mother, beautician Ida Dalser, in asylums where both died before Mussolini’s execution in 1945.
“It’s a previously unseen Mussolini,” said Gianani. “And not just because he has hair. We see him as a very passionate young man and through the perspective of his lover, who is a very modern woman.”
As for Bellocchio, Gianani said that, unlike most of the Cannes regular’s oeuvre of 30 works, in this film he “was interested in revisiting the melodrama genre and totally turning it upside down — not in doing psychodrama.”
Gianani, who is 38, jokingly describes “Vincere” as “the first movie by Bellocchio where nobody will walk out and say ‘I didn’t get it.’ ” The script, written by Bellocchio, went through 12 drafts.
Produced by Gianani’s Offside shingle with financing from RAI Cinema and Eurimages, Bellocchio’s $13 million “Vincere” has been pre-sold by Celluloid Dreams to France (Ad Vitam).
Meanwhile Gianani is in pre-production with “The Solitude of Prime Numbers,” which will be helmed by hot Italo helmer Saverio Costanzo (“Private,” “In Memory of Myself”).
The novel by Paolo Giordano turns on trauma, love and math and has been published in 25 languages. Doubleday will publish in the U.S. in June.
Offside will co-produce “Solitude,” which will start shooting in Italy in August, with Gaul’s Les Films Des Tournelle while Gallic distribbery Le Pact will distribute in France. Casting is being decided.