Tornatore returns to Sicily

Drama spans five decades

ROME — Italo helmer Giuseppe Tornatore will soon be back in the director’s chair in his native Sicily to shoot a drama spanning five decades in the life of a Sicilian village.

Plan is for Tornatore to start principal photography in September on the still untitled project, produced by Silvio Berlusconi’s Medusa and set in a remote microcosm on the Southern Italian isle between the 1920s and the 1970s.

This aspect of the new Tornatore pic — which will be in Sicilian dialect — has an apparent affinity with his smash hit “Cinema Paradiso,” set in the hamlet of Giancaldo outside Palermo.

Casting is underway, with Sicilian thesps of all ages being sought to appear alongside the A-list Italo talent that will fill the lead roles.

Tornatore is putting the finishing touches to the screenplay of this return-to-his-roots drama, which will take precedence over his long-gestating English-language epic “Leningrad,” still on hiatus.

Tornatore’s latest feature is Northern Italy-set white slavery noir “The Unknown,” which was well received in Italy and sold widely around the world, but is still lacking U.S. distribution.

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