Naples-set mob musical “Love and Bullets,” directed by Marco and Antonio Manetti, and Jonas Carpignano’s slice-of-life drama “A Ciambra,” split top honors Wednesday night at Italy’s 62nd David di Donatello Awards, the country’s equivalent of the Oscars.
The best picture prize went to “Bullets,” which had scored the most nominations and took home 5 statuettes, including supporting actress, music, and costume design.
And the best director nod went to “A Ciambra,” which also took the editing David. “A Ciambra,” which is set in a Romani community in Southern Italy, is executive produced by Martin Scorsese. It was released in February in North America by Sundance Selects.
“Bullets” has not made a killing at the Italian box office, where it grossed a decent $1.8 million, but it’s been a favorite with Italian critics and industry folks ever since launching in competition from the Venice Film Festival last September.
The evening’s other standouts were Susanna Nicchiarelli’s “Nico 1988,” about the late German chanteuse who was among Andy Warhol’s muses and sang with the Velvet Underground, which got the screenplay nod and three other prizes, and Neapolitan animation director Alessandro Rak’s mob-themed toon “Cinderella The Cat,” which took producer honors and is considered one of the best Italian animated films of recent years.
The prize for best first work went to bestselling author turned director Donato Carrisi’s “The Girl in the Fog,” about the disappearance of a teen girl in the Alps.
The awards ceremony was marked by a heightened awareness of gender inequality in the Italian film business and the country at large. It kicked off with a monologue by actress Paola Cortellesi about how women are reviled by expressions commonly used in the Italian language and built into the culture.
“Dissenso Comune” (Common Dissent), the Italian movement inspired by #MeToo in the U.S. made itself heard. In an open letter on Wednesday they pointed out that 88% of the films that get public funding in Italy are directed by men, as are 90.8% of pics that screen in Italian movie theaters. And a woman has never won the David for best director. “We are convinced that this is a crucial moment and have reached a point of no return,” the letter said.
Most attendees at the Davids ceremony wore Dissenso Comune pins.
This year also marks the first time the Accademia del Cinema Italiano, which is Italy’s equivalent of the Academy in the U.S., is headed by a woman, Piera De Tassis, a former artistic director of the Rome film fest and president of its parent organization who is also editor of top Italian mainstream movie mag Ciak.
The Davids ceremony was attended by Diane Keaton and Steven Spielberg who received career honors.
Keaton on stage briefly broke out in song with “Three Coins in the Fountain,” as a homage to the Eternal City. Asked before that by the show’s host about her favorite character among the roles she’s played, Keaton picked out “Annie Hall’” and subsequently said: “thank you, Woody!.” This appeared to signal she does not wish to distance herself from Allen unlike a growing list of other stars in the #MeToo and Time’s Up era.
Spielberg said that being back in Rome for this honor reminded him of “one of most extraordinary days in my life.”
After receiving the statuette from Monica Bellucci he recounted an anecdote of when he first came to the Italian capital to promote “Duel” and Federico Fellini, who had just seen the film, came to his hotel to praise the pic. Fellini took Spielberg for a walk during which he gave the young American director the following advice: “it’s always important to entertain the public, but it’s even more important to entertain yourself!”
Here’s the complete list of David Awards winners:
“Love and Bullets,” Manetti Bros, Carlo Macchitella
Jonas Carpignano, “A Ciambra”
Donato Carrisi, “The Girl in the Fog”
Susanna Nichiarelli, “Nico, 1988”
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Fabio Grassadonia, Antonio Piazza, “Sicilian Ghost Story”
Luciano Stella, Maria Carolina Terzi “Cinderella the Cat”
Jasmine Trinca, “Fortunata”
Renato Carpintieri, “Tenderness”
Claudia Gerini, “Love and Bullets”
Giuliano Montaldo, “Tutto quello che vuoi”
Gian Filippo Corticelli, “Naples in Veils”
Alfonso Gonclaves, “A Ciambra”
“La Lucida Follia di Marco Ferreri,” Anselma Dall’Olio
Pivio and Aldo De Scalzi, “Love and Bullets”
“Bang Bang” by Pivio and Aldo De Scalzi, “Love and Bulletts”
Ivana Gargiulo, “Napoli in Veils”
Tie: Massimo Cantini Parrini, “Riccardo va all’inferno”, Daniela Salernitano, “Love and Bullets”
Marco Altieri, “Nico, 1988”
Daniela Altieri, “Nico, 1988”
The “Nico, 1988” team
Mad Entertainment “Cinderella the Cat”
EUROPEAN UNION PICTURE
“The Square,” Ruben Ostlund
FOREIGN FILM OUTSIDE THE E.U.
“Dunkirk,” Christopher Nolan
“Tutto quello che vuoi,” Francesco Bruni
Lifetime Achievement David