ROME — Italy’s film industry is reacting rather nonchalantly to the surprising absence of Italian movies in the Cannes competition for the first time in a decade and taking consolation in the expected presence of a robust contingent of young Italo directors set to screen across the fest’s other sections.
“One year you have three films in competition, the other you don’t have any. It’s normal,” says producer Riccardo Tozzi head of Italian motion picture association Anica.
“It doesn’t mean there aren’t good movies; it just means there aren’t any that fit the Cannes [competition] mold,” he adds.
Of course last year Italy had new works by Cannes regulars Nanni Moretti, Paolo Sorrentino, and Matteo Garrone vying for the Palme d’Or.
This year veteran Italo auteur Marco Bellocchio’s “Sweet Dreams” didn’t make the cut.
“Bellocchio is not a Cannes protege like Nanni Moretti, or Ken Loach, or Almodovar,” Tozzi points out. “His career wasn’t born with Cannes, and they are kind of clubby that way,” he opined. Truly Bellocchio’s first films, starting with “Fists in the Pocket,” launched from Venice. Still he’s had six films in contention for a Palme, which he’s never won. Most recently “Vincere” in 2009.
Tozzi and other Italo industryites are playing up the fact that Cannes this year will reflect a new generation of Italian directors who are making genre movies exemplified by neo-noir “Pericles the Black Man,” by Stefano Mordini, announced in an Un Certain Regard slot, and by Paolo Virzi’s comedy “Like Crazy,” which will be in Directors’ Fortnight.
“Pericles,” (pictured) which is directed by Stefano Mordini, whose “Steel” was in Venice Days in 2012, stars Riccardo Scamarcio (“My Brother is an Only Child”) in the title role as a slave-like hit-man who disengages from the shackles of the mob world after meeting a woman. “Like Crazy” is a Tuscany-set two-hander about two women, played by Valeria Bruni Tedeschi and Micaela Ramazzotti (“The First Beautiful Thing”), who escape from a mental institution where they have been court-ordered.
Also strongly tipped from Italy for Directors’ Fortnight is Claudio Giovannesi’s juvenile detention center-set romancer “Fiore.” And first-timer Alessandro Comodin’s “Happy Times Will Come Soon” is widely believed to have landed a berth in Critics’ Week.
The title encapsulates the Italo industry’s current mood despite the Cannes snub.