Bellissima Films brings Italian fare to French screens
by Fabien Lemercier
15/06/2011 - With today’s 80-print launch of Giovanni Veronesi’s Manual of Love 3, distribution company Bellissima Films, founded by Fabio Conversi, is celebrating its first year of business. Specialised in contemporary Italian cinema, the company has already given French audiences the chance to discover six films: Pietro Marcello’s The Mouth of the Wolf [trailer, film focus], Francesca Archibugi’s A Matter of Heart [trailer], Giuseppe Capotondi’s The Double Hour [trailer, film focus], Sabina Guzzanti’s Draquila: Italy Trembles [trailer], Ivano de Matteo’s The Beautiful People [trailer], Marco Risi’s Fortapàsc [trailer] and Ascanio Celestini’s The Black Sheep [trailer].
According to François Sciappa-Kohn, head of distribution at Bellissima Films, the provisional outlook is very positive: "The results are almost undreamed-of. There is a real core audience in France and an interest in new, top-quality Italian films. Beyond Manual of Love 3, which is a special case because it’s more mainstream (launched in its original language and in a French dubbed version), we handle independent and arthouse releases, in their original language, with print-runs of between 10 and 80 which have the advantage of enjoying very long theatrical runs. For example, The Mouth of the Wolf is still showing in a few theatres one year after its release.”
He continued: “The clarity of our film selection strategy made us immediately identifiable to French exhibitors. And the Italians are now offering us more and more projects and films, which will mean we can distribute titles by better-known filmmakers. We are currently in negotiations for the forthcoming films by Marco Tullio Giordana, Kim Rossi Stuart, Gabriele Salvatores and Cristina Comencini."
In the second half of 2011, Bellissima Films will release, on August 3, Claudio Cupellini’s A Quiet Life [trailer, film focus] (Best Actor Award for Toni Servillo at the Rome Film Festival 2010); on September 14 Stefano Incerti’s Gorbaciof [trailer, film focus], which stood out at last year’s Venice Festival; in November Emanuele Crialese’s Terraferma [trailer, film focus] (which could get a competition slot at this year’s Venice Mostra); and in December Andrea Molaioli’s The Jewel.
It should also be noted that Gianni di Gregorio’s Italian film The Salt Of Life [trailer, film focus] (Pyramide Distribution) has been showing in French theatres since June 1. Other Italian films awaiting release are Paolo Virzi’s The First Beautiful Thing [trailer] (Wild Bunch Distribution on June 29); Stefano Passeto’s The Call (Memento Films Distribution on August 3); Paolo Sorrentino’s This Must Be The Place [trailer, film focus] (ARP Sélection on August 24); and Nanni Moretti’s We Have A Pope [trailer, film focus] (Le Pacte on September 7).
In this week’s line-up, Le Pacte is releasing a 136-print run of Katia Lewkowicz’s Bachelor Days Are Over [trailer], which closed the recent Cannes Critics’ Week (see review). Other highlights among today’s releases are Charlotte Silvera’s Escalade [trailer], starring Carmen Maura (Hévadis Films); and Emmanuelle Demoris’s five-part documentary Mafrouza/Heart (Shellac).
(Translated from French)