The new Polanski project, which the director is expected to start shooting this fall, was announced Thursday during a lineup presentation by RAI Cinema, the film arm of Italian public broadcaster RAI.
“The Palace” is set on New Year’s Eve in 1999, “which is the epilogue of an entire millennium,” said RAI Cinema chief Paolo Del Brocco. The film is situated “in a big hotel immersed in the Swiss Alps where the lives of the guests and those who work for them intersect,” the exec added, noting that he only recently received the screenplay and isn’t allowed to say more.
The Polanski pic is being lead-produced by Italian actor-producer Luca Barbareschi via his Eliseo Entertainment company.
Barbareschi was also a producer on Polanski’s “An Officer and a Spy,” which launched in 2019 from the Venice Film Festival where it won the Grand Jury Prize and subsequently won three Cesar nods in France, though the embattled director did not attend the ceremony. Polanski, who fled the United States in 1978, after pleading guilty to the rape of a 13-year-old girl, has since lost his bid to be reinstated to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which expelled him in May 2018.
Skolimowski, a film director, screenwriter, playwright and actor considered the preeminent figure of the Eastern European New Wave that started in the 1960s, previously collaborated with Polanski as a writer on his 1962 Oscar-nominated “Knife in the Water.”
Other new projects by prominent Italian auteurs in the RAI Cinema lineup comprise:
– Alice Rohrwacher’s “La Chimera” set in the Tuscan countryside and centered around the theme of archeological looting and the illicit sale of artifacts. Rohrwacher’s latest film was “Happy as Lazzaro,” which won a prize in 2018 at Cannes.
– Susanna Nicchiarelli’s “Chiara,” a passionate portrait of Saint Clare of Assisi, which completes Nicchiarelli’s trilogy of female biopics also comprising “Nico, 1988” and “Miss Marx.”
– Pietro Marcello’s “I Promessi Sposi” (“The Bethrothed”) based on the eponymous Italian historical novel by Alessandro Manzoni. Marcello’s latest film was “Martin Eden” which launched from Venice in 2019.