ROME – Giuseppe Tornatore’s art world thriller “The Best Offer,” starring Geoffrey Rush, was the big winner at Italy’s David Awards, scooping six of the top Italo film nods, including best picture, director, and music, composed by Ennio Morricone.
Tornatore’s English-lingo pic, in which Rush plays an eccentric auctioneer obsessing over an heiress with villa full of art, marks the most tangible testimony of the Italian film industry’s recent attempts to fight local economic and box office woes by producing high-profile mid-range pics that can travel.
Produced in association with Warner Bros by Paco Cinematografica, a rising Rome-based Italo shingle headed by Isabella Cocuzza and Arturo Paglia, “Best Offer,” grossed a handsome $12 million domestically. Pic has been widely sold internationally by uMedia’s sales and finance arm uConnect, though not for North America as yet.
Besides Rush, “Offer” also stars Jim Sturgess, Donald Sutherland and rising Dutch star Sylvia Hoeks (“Tirza”). It was shot in Northern Italy, Vienna and Prague on an $18 million budget.
The other title which took mutiple Davids is Daniele Vicari’s drama “Diaz: Don’t Clean Up This Blood,” about police violence during the 2001 Genoa G-8 Summit. “Diaz” scooped four nods, including best producer for Domenico Procacci.
Universal has multi-territory rights, including U.K. and Germany, to this realistic reconstruction of the brutal attack by 300 policemen on 90 activists in a Genoa school.
Another Italo pic with international cachet, the Gabriele Salvatores-helmed chiller “Siberian Education,” starring John Malkovich, went instead empty-handed despite eleven David nominations. But Salvatores and production shingle Cattleya can take consolation in the fact that “Siberian” was recently picked up for U.S. by Wrekin Hill Entertainment.
In a rare thesping Davids feat, Valerio Mastandrea scored two nods: best actor, for his role as a financially battered father Ivano De Matteo’s “Balancing Act,” and also best supporting actor for playing a clever assistant to a nutty pol in Roberto Andò’s “Viva la libertà.”
Margherita Buy took the best actress prize for Maria Sole Tognazzi’s “Viaggio Sola” in which she plays a forty-something single who for work hops from one five-star hotel to another doing quality-control.
Quentin Tarantino’s “Django Unchained” won the David for best foreign film.
Somewhat chaotic David ceremony was aired on prime time on pubcaster RAI’s flagship RAI-1 amid an upbeat mood sparked by assurances by the country’s new culture minister Massimo Bray that he will go to bat for the Italo film industry.