VENICE – U.S.-based Iranian auteur Amir Naderi (“The Runner”), who is a Venice fest aficionado, will shoot his first feature in Italian, titled “Mountain,” set in a semi-abandoned village at the foothills of an Alpine peak. It follows his Japan-set “The Cut,” and “Vegas: Based on a True Story,” in competition on the Lido in 2008.
“The Cut,” which was an homage to yakuza movies, opened the fest’s Horizons section in 2011. Nader was also in Venice last year with “Mise En scene: A Conversation with Arthur Penn,” which was in the fest’s classics section.
The highly symbolic “Mountain” is set centuries ago in a village under Mount Latemar, in Italy’s Alto Adige region, where a farmer and his wife struggle with the fact that the 2,500-meter tall peak keeps the sun from shining on their crops.
“The film is one hundred percent in Italian, though, like my other movies, there isn’t that much dialogue in it,” Naderi said. “In all my movies I try to push the characters in different cultures, different countries, different situations.
“Ultimately my characters are all survivors, because I believe humans should always make something impossible possible,” he added.
Italian actors Andrea Sartoretti, whose credits include TV series “Crime Novel” and “Mission: Impossible III,” and Claudia Potenza (“Basilicata Coast to Coast”) will star.
Principal photography will start Sept. 14 and the shoot is expected to last around six weeks in an specially built ghost village.
Pic is being co-produced by Italy’s Citrullo Intl., the filmmakers’ collective comprising Carlo Hintermann, Gerardo Panichi, Michele Petochi e Jerome Caltagirone, with Italy’s Zhivago Media and New York-based restoration and preservation company Cineric, in association with Zomia, with financing from RAI Cinema, the BLS fund (also behind “Everest”) and the Friuli Venezia Giulia Film Fund.
Interestingly there is somewhat of a parallel, in reverse, to Naderi making “Mountain” in Italy after making a movie in Japan, with fellow Iranian auteur Abbas Kiarostami who first made a movie first in Italy, “Certified Copy,” in 2010, and subsequently one in Japan, titled “Like Someone in Love,” in 2012.
“Abbas is a close friend,” Naderi said. “After I made ‘Cut’ in Japan (in 2011) I pushed him to go make a movie there and he told me to get to Italy; but every filmmaker wants to make a movie in Italy.”