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After a long hiatus of strong Italian representation in Cannes, the country is back in the spotlight with three films in the competition and four films in total in the official selection.
Matteo Garrone’s The Tale of the Tales, Nanni Moretti‘s My Mother (Mia Madre) and Paolo Sorrentino‘s Youth will all compete to win the Palme d’Or this year. The three films account for 17.6 percent of the 17 competition titles unveiled on Thursday.
Meanwhile, Italian-born, U.S.-based director Roberto Minervini’s new documentary The Other Side (Louisiana) will screen in the Un Certain Regard section of the festival.
“We are happy and proud to represent Italy at the next Cannes Festival,” Garrone, Moretti and Sorrentino said in a joint statement. “We are aware that it’s a great opportunity for us and for the whole of Italian cinema.”
While Italy’s film industry has been on the rise again over the last two decades with a new generation of talent, called the “new” Neorealism, it has rarely seen one or two entries in Cannes’ official competition. Last year, Alice Rohrwacher held the only Italian slot in competition with The Wonders, which went on to win the Grand Prix award.
After Thursday’s lineup announcement, Italy’s culture minister Dario Franceschini tweeted: “Italian cinema is back to speak to the world.”
All four directors are Cannes veterans. Garrone is a two-time Grand Prix winner, in 2008 with Gomorrah, his searing film about the Camorra, and in 2012 with Reality, about a man obsessed with becoming famous on TV. His 2002 film The Taxidermist played in Quinzaine des Realisateurs. His new film The Tale of Tales explores classic Italian fairy tales with the likes of Salma Hayek, Vincent Cassel, Toby Jones and John C. Reilly.
In addition to winning the Palme d’Or in 2001 for The Son’s Room, Moretti in the past also represented Italy in the festival’s official competition with Ecce bombo (1978), Dear Diary (1994), for which he took home the directing prize, Aprile (1998), The Caiman (2006), and We Have a Pope (2011). My Mother, starring Moretti, John Turturro and Margherita Buy, opens Thursday in Italian cinemas, just hours after the Cannes announcement.
In 2013, Sorrentino’s The Great Beauty Cannes competition entry went on to win the Academy Award for best picture. Sorrentino also competed for the Palme d’Or in 2004 with his thriller The Consequences of Love, The Family Friend (2006), Il Divo (2008), which won for Jury Prize, and This Must Be the Place (2011). Youth, starring Michael Caine as a retired orchestra conductor, complete with a much buzzed about performance by Jane Fonda, will be his sixth Cannes competition entry.
Minervini premiered in Cannes out of competition in 2013 with his critically acclaimed Stop the Pounding Heart. His new documentary looks at abject poverty in rural Louisiana.
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