Italy Picks ‘Don’t Be Bad’ As Its Foreign-Language Oscar Candidate

ROME – Italy has selected recently deceased helmer Claudio Caligari’s “Non Essere Cattivo” (“Don’t Be Bad”), a Pasolini-esque look at contempo low life on Rome’s outskirts, as its candidate film for the foreign-language Academy Award.

The gritty drama set during the 1990’s in Ostia, on the outskirts of Rome, in the world of synthetic drugs, cocaine, fast cars and nightclubs, bowed in Venice recently as a special event. Shepherded as a passion project by Italo actor Valerio Mastandrea, pic is produced by Kimerafilm, TaoDue Film, Rai Cinema, and Andrea Leone Films.

“Bad” has been on release since its Venice launch via Good Films in Italy where it has not performed that well, having grossed under $300,000 in three weeks, albeit on just a few screens. It features an ensemble cast comprising Luca Marinelli, Alessandro Borghi, Silvia D’Amico, Roberta Mattei.

Rai Com is handling international sales.

Caligari is a cult helmer whose three features also include heroin dependancy drama “Amore Tossico” (1983) and crimer “The Scent of the Night,” starring Mastandrea, which premiered in 1998 in Venice. Caligari died of cancer in May aged 67.

The selection committee appointed by Italo motion picture association Anica chose “Bad” over several other titles which unlike Caligari’s film already have U.S. distribution in place, such as Nanni Moretti’s “My Mother,” and Laura Bispuri’s “Sworn Virgin.”

Italy’s more high-profile pics from Cannes this year, Paolo Sorrentino’s “Youth” and Matteo Garrone’s “The Tale of Tales” were automatically excluded because they are in English.

After the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences approves this year’s proposed foreign-language Oscar contenders, a select committee will whittle the submissions down to a short list of nine titles. Another committee then selects the five nominations which will be announced January 14. The 2016 Oscars will be held Feb. 28 at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.


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