Italian auteur Marco Tullio Giordana, best known internationally for sweeping terrorism-themed epic “The Best of Youth” (2003) is set to soon return behind the camera on “La Vita Accanto” a psychological drama about a talented young woman contending with profound rejection due to her looks.
Shooting is set to start on June 5 in Vicenza, Northern Italy, on “Vita Accanto,” (the title can be translated as “the life beside”) which is co-written and produced by Marco Bellocchio – the Italian master who is currently competing for a Cannes Palm d’Or with “Kidnapped.”
Italy’s Intramovies has started launching pre-sales on “Vita Accanto” in Cannes.
Giordana’s new project is based on an eponymous prizewinning novel by Italian writer Mariapia Veladiano about a girl named Rebecca who from the very moment of birth becomes ostracized by her family and the world around her “because she does not conform to aesthetic canons [of beauty],” Giordana told Variety.
“Her physical appearance prompts great perturbation in her mother, who rejects her and then plunges into a deep depression,” the director said.
“Her entire adolescence is marked by shame and wanting to hide from others.” But from an early age Rebecca reveals extraordinary musical abilities. Her aunt – who is her father’s twin – is a famous concert pianist who recognizes her talent, so Rebecca becomes her pupil.
The aunt, to be played by ace Italian stage and screen actor Sonia Bergamasco (“The Best of Youth”), Bergamasco is also a trained classical pianist, becomes a sort of deputy mother for the girl whose physical particularity in the film will be represented by a very visible red stain on her skin, Giordana said.
Paolo Pierobon, who gleefully plays Pope Pius IX in Bellocchio’s “Kidnapped,” has been cast as Rebecca’s well-to-do father, a prominent gynecologist. Her mother will be played by Valentina Belle’ who most recently appeared in Disney+ original series “The Good Mothers” that won the Berlinale Series award.
For the role of Rebecca as an adolescent, Giordana has cast rising young Italian pianist Beatrice Barison, making her acting debut.
“Vita Accanto,” which is set between the late 1980’s and the year 2000 will be shot in and around Vicenza which is known for its Palladian architecture.
Bellocchio, Giordana and Gloria Malatesta (“Children of the Night”) co-wrote the screenplay. Giordana said that Bellocchio, while penning the script, made several drawings in it – as is customary for him – that he will use to illustrate Rebecca’s diary in the film.
“Vita Accanto” is being produced by Bellocchio and his producing partner Simone Gattoni via their Kavac Film shingle in tandem with Rai Cinema and the Veneto Film Commission.
Giordana’s more recent works since “Best of Youth” – which won the Cannes 2003 Un Certain Regard Award – comprise immigration drama “Once You Are Born You Can no Longer Hide” that launched from Cannes in 2005; Monica Bellucci-starrer “Wild Blood,” which also bowed from Cannes in 2008; and dark drama “Yara,” a reconstruction of the murder of 13-year-old Yara Gambirasio that was a 2021 Netflix Italy original film.
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