While the Venice Film Festival is taking on strong symbolic significance as a catalyst to help restart Italy’s film industry, cameras are already rolling on sets across the country just as a fresh crop of completed movies is raring to make a splash by launching from the lagoon. Below is a compendium of standout Italian titles in various stages.
“The Hand of God” – Paolo Sorrentino in mid-September will start shooting this pic marking the Oscar-winner’s return to making a film in Naples, his hometown, 20 years after his dazzling debut “One Man Up.” Details are scarce about this pic being made for Netflix besides that it marks Sorrentino’s first intimate and personal feature. The title is believed to be a reference to Argentinian soccer icon Diego Maradona, who was the star scorer for S.S.C. Napoli and is known to be an idol for Sorrentino, an ardent Napoli fan.
“Non Mi Uccidere” – Young director Andrea De Sica, who helmed the bulk of Netflix teen series “Baby,” is shooting a horror film based on a bestselling Gothic novel by the same title, that translates as “Don’t Kill Me.” The Warner Bros. and Vivo Film production features “Baby” star Alice Pagani as a 19-year-old named Mirta, who, with her older lover, Robin, dies of a drug overdose. She then resuscitates alone to find out that in order to continue living, and cherishing the memory of Robin’s love, she must eat living humans. Rocco Fasano (“Skam Italia”) plays Robin. The location is Italy Alpine Alto Adige region.
“Caravaggio’s Shadow” – Isabelle Huppert is attached to star in this costume drama about the 17th master of chiaroscuro that multi hyphenate Michele Placido (“Crime Novel”) will soon be shooting in Sardinia and Rome. Co-produced by Rai Cinema and France’s MACT Productions, pic revolves around a Vatican investigation into Caravaggio, played by Riccardo Scamarcio (“Loro”), who has murdered a love rival. Louis Garrel will play the investigator, known as The Shadow. Huppert plays a noblewoman who hides the painter from the police and papal authorities.
“Miss Marx” (pictured) — This English-language biopic of Karl Marx’s ill-fated younger daughter Eleanor, a protofeminist played by Golden Globe nominee Romola Garai (“The Hour”), chronicles her tragic relationship with political activist and playwright Edward Aveling, portrayed as sneaky and spineless. Pic is directed by Susanna Nicchiarelli and comes after her “Nico, 1988” took top honors in the Venice 2017 Horizons section. She’s back on the Lido – this time in the main competition – with a film that aims to “subvert the image of a Victorian heroine and replace it with a modern, emblematic picture of a woman fighting battles on both the personal front and the world stage,” Nicchiarelli says.
“Notturno” – Shot over the course of three years in Middle East war zones and hot spots, Gianfranco Rosi’s latest buzzed-about doc segues from migration-themed “Fire at Sea,” which won the 2016 Berlin Golden Bear and his “Sacro GRA” that scooped the 2013 Venice Golden Lion. Pic has been selected by the Telluride, Venice, Toronto and New York film festivals, a feat matched only by “Nomadland” this year. Rosi will also be honored by the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) with a retro and a screening of his latest effort, which is already set to travel worldwide even before its premiere.