Project based on Niccolo Ammaniti's coming-of-age tale

Helmer Bernardo Bertolucci is preparing to return behind the camera with an intimate coming-of-age drama based on bestselling short novel “Io e te” by Italo author Niccolo Ammaniti, who will co-pen.

Bertolucci, who is being honored by the Museum of Modern Art with a retro, announced the project to Italian media in New York.

“Io e te” is largely set in a Rome basement where an introverted adolescent hides out, having told his parents he has gone on a ski trip. In this hideout the boy gets an unexpected visit from an older half-sister he barely knows who is strung out on heroin and needs his help.

“It’s a story that weaves dreams and reality, and represents growth and an entry into maturity,” Bertolucci told Italian paper Corriere della Sera. Bertolucci, 70, has not made a feature since “The Dreamers” in 2003. He has been keeping a low profile due to back trouble.

Pic, still in early development stages, has no producer confirmed. Bertolucci’s regular producer, Jeremy Thomas, could not be reached for comment.

Bertolucci has shelved plans for a previously announced project, a long-gestating costumer centered on the emotionally turbulent life of 16th century Italo musician and murderer Gesualdo da Venosa.

Bertolucci’s “Io e te” will be the fifth bigscreen adaptation of the book. Previous ones include “I’m Not Scared” and “As God Commands,” both helmed by Gabriele Salvatores.

(Diana Lodderhose in London contributed to this report.)

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