Bellocchio set to direct ‘Monaca’

Drama centers on transgressive nun

ROME — Italo auteur Marco Bellocchio, whose Mussolini-era melodrama “Vincere” has been making a splash internationally, will soon be back in the director’s chair with “La Monaca di Bobbio,” a historical drama turning on a transgressive nun.

“La Monaca” is based on the true tale of a 17th century noblewoman forced by her father to become a vestal. Her unholy sexual affairs inside a convent lead to a murder and her incarceration.

Pic will be about the dilemma that the reluctant nun’s behavior poses for a young priest called on to decide whether she must remain behind bars.

Tale is being transposed to Bellocchio’s native town of Bobbio, in Northern Italy, where Bellocchio attended Catholic schools.

Plan is to start shooting “La Monaca” in September, with Italo A-list actress Maya Sansa, who also starred in Bellocchio’s “Good Morning, Night,” in advanced negotiations to play the lead.

Valerio De Paolis has confirmed that his BIM Distribuzione is co-producing with Carlo Macchitella’s Madeleine shingle, and Gaul’s Babe Films. BIM will release in Italy.

Bellocchio, who is among Italy’s most revered helmers, on Wednesday gave the Cannes Film Festival Cinema Masterclass.

“Vincere,” which is Bellocchio’s latest pic, bowed strongly May 14 in the U.K. via Artificial Eye and is currently on release via IFC in the U.S. where mostly positive reviews have prompted solid arthouse returns.

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