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Andrea Adriatico brings Mario Mieli’s story to the big screen


- Shooting kicks off today on Gli anni amari, a story about the well-known gay rights activist. The film stars Sandra Ceccarelli and Antonio Catania and is a L’Altra Cinemare and Rai Cinema production

Andrea Adriatico brings Mario Mieli’s story to the big screen
Nicola Di Benedetto as Mario Mieli

Shooting on Gli anni amari – a film that brings Mario Mieli’s story to the big screen – kicked off on 20 August in Milan. An intellectual, activist, writer and artist of great importance in the ‘70s, and one of the founders of the first Italian gay rights movement before committing suicide in 1983. The film – produced by L’Altra Cinemare along with Rai Cinema and in collaboration with Pavarotti International 23 – will be directed by the theatre and film director Andrea Adriatico (The Wind in the Evening selected at Berlin and Andres and Me [+see also:
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, winner at Annecy), who wrote the screenplay along with the journalist Stefano Casi and Grazia Verasani (author of Quo vadis, baby?, adapted into a film of the same name by Gabriele Salvatores).

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Gli anni amari brings together moments from Mario Mieli’s private and public lives, brought to life by a young Nicola Di Benedetto in his film debut. Born in 1952 in Milan, Mario was the son of two well-off parents and the youngest of seven children – including his brother Giulio (Lorenzo Balducci) – and lived his entire life in conflict with his father Walter (Antonio Catania) and mother Liderica (Sandra Ceccarelli). The film kicks off during Mieli’s teenage years at Giuseppe Parini high school in Milan. We follow Mieli through his youth and uncontrolled nocturnal escapades in gay bars in Milan – at a time when being gay was still associated with being mentally ill – his trip to London and his fundamental meeting with the English Gay Liberation Front activist group, his return to Italy and the foundation of Fuori! – the first Italian gay liberation movement – and the Collettivi Omosessuali Milanesi, the publication of the essay Elementi di critica omosessuale (Elements of homosexual criticism), his media popularity and importantly his mental health problems.

Gli anni amari is about a “journey through an era, those vital, difficult, creative, painful and moving years of the 1970s. It’s also about remembering a necessary movement for rights, the gay rights movement, that had to invent new ways to get itself heard. But above all, the film is the portrait of a boy whose brilliance, inner freedom, and lust for life were too much for the world around him,” states the director. The film also stars Francesco Martino, Davide Merlini, Giovanni Cordì and Tobia De Angelis.

Gli anni amari was financed by MIBACT and also received funding from Emilia-Romagna Film Commission and Apulia Film Commission. Filming will take place for eight weeks in Milan, Bologna, Sanremo, Lecce and London.

(Translated from Italian)

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