Soldini’s ‘Bread’ rises to sweep Italo honors

Comedy takes best film, director, actor, actress nods

ROME — “Bread and Tulips,” Milanese director Silvio Soldini’s gentle comedy about a bored housewife who flees her family obligations and daily drudgery and finds freedom and romance in Venice, swept the main prizes at the 2000 David di Donatello Awards, Italy’s top film honors.

Produced by Italy’s state film body Istituto Luce with Soldini’s Milan-based Monogatari and pubcaster RAI, “Bread and Tulips” took trophies for best film and director as well as for actress Licia Maglietta, actor Bruno Ganz, supporting actress Marina Massironi and supporting actor Giuseppe Battiston, who tied with Leo Gullotta in “A Respectable Man.”

Soldini’s fourth feature is strongly tipped for a slot in the Directors Fortnight at Cannes. Pic also earned statues for screenwriters Dorianna Leondeff and Soldini, best sound and Luca Bigazzi’s cinematography.

The latter prize was shared with lenser Fabio Cianchetti for director Ricky Tognazzi’s Prague-set romantic costumer about a young violinist, “Canone Inverso,” which also scored the David Scuola, voted by Italian high school students.

A modest box office hit, Tognazzi’s film also won for Ennio Morricone’s music, Francesco Bronzi’s production design and Carla Simoncelli’s editing. The costume award went to Sergio Ballo for Marco Bellocchio’s “The Wet Nurse.”

Pivia pic best frosh feature

Best first feature went to Berlin fest hit “La Capagira,” a quirky low-budget indie from Puglia directed by Alessandro Pivia. Amedeo Pagani was named best producer for Italo-Argentine helmer Marco Bechis’ hard-hitting drama about the torture of political prisoners, “Garage Olimpo.”

Pedro Almodovar continued his triumphant awards-season run, taking best foreign-language film for “All About My Mother,” which beat out “American Beauty” and “East Is East.”

Seasoned thesps Giancarlo Giannini and Mariangela Melato, who co-starred in many of director Lina Wertmuller’s major international hits of the 1970s, were presented with career achievement awards.

In a ceremony laden with an excessive number of thinly motivated special awards, additional honors went to veteran international producer Alex von Norman, to local industry heavyweight Vittorio Cecchi Gori and, most mystifyingly given the poor critical and commercial results of his last two features, to former box office champion Leonardo Pieraccioni.

The talented Mr. Minghella

Director Anthony Minghella received a special Cinecitta award for his work in promoting the historic studios throughout the world with his films “The English Patient” and “The Talented Mr. Ripley,” both of which made extensive use of the Rome facilities. “Ripley” star Matt Damon was on hand as a presenter.

Italy’s most internationally renowned producer, Dino De Laurentiis, was given a special career achievement award presented by RAI’s production division Cinema RAI. De Laurentiis starts shooting next month in Florence on MGM and Universal’s “Silence of the Lambs” sequel, “Hannibal,” with Ridley Scott directing.

The awards were presented Wednesday night at Cinecitta Studios in Rome.

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