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Italy’s submission for best foreign-language film for the 88th Academy Awards is Non essere cattivo by Claudio Caligari. The film played out of competition in Venice this year. Detailing the high-partying life of two young friends, the film explores the life of excess in 1995 Ostia.
In a life filled with clubs, cars, cocaine and booze, Vittorio (Alessandro Borghi) and Cesare (Luca Marinelli) can’t be separated. When the call to find a greater purpose threatens to pull them and their lifestyles apart, they struggle to keep their bond strong.
Caligari was influenced by Pier Paolo Pasolini in telling the story of the Italian fringe drug culture. He spent years researching and documenting addiction. His 1983 documentary Amore tossico (Toxic Love) was considered a masterful, honest look at youth heroin addiction.
Caligari died of cancer in May, at the age of 67.
While not in the official competition in Venice, the film picked up several collateral awards, including nods for the Pasinetti Prize, and the FEDIC and Sorriso diverso Venezia awards. The film does not yet have U.S. distribution.
Italy had a shortlist of nine films for submission, also including: Leopardi by Mario Martone, Latin Lover by Cristina Comencini, The Wait by Piero Messina, My Mother by Nanni Moretti, You Can’t Save Yourself Alone by Sergio Castellitto, For Your Love by Giuseppe M. Gaudino, Blood of My Blood by Marco Bellocchio and Sworn Virgin by Laura Bispuri.
The best foreign-language nominees will be announced with the rest of the Oscar nominees on Jan.14, with the winner announced at the ceremony on Feb. 28.
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