Bentivoglio’s guitar gently weeps
by Camillo De Marco
This weekend, two Italian titles are being released against six US films: The Kingdom, (Universal, 100 screens), August Rush (Medusa Film, 200 screens), In the Valley of Elah (Mikado, 170 screens), The Nanny Diaries (01 Distribution, 122 screens), Fred Claus (Warner, 94 screens) and Brick (Eagle on 5 screens).
First up of the local titles is Winx Club: Secret of the Lost Kingdom, from the animated television series on the highly popular fairies, created by and now brought to the big screen by Iginio Straffi. With technology on par with Shrek, the children’s film should do well – especially since French-Tunisian tycoon Tarak Ben Ammar recent acquisition of a stake in Rainbow, the production company behind the Winx Club). It is being released this afternoon by 01 Distribution on 660 screens.
The successful debut feature by actor Fabrizio Bentivoglio, Lascia perdere, Johnny!, produced by Fandango, is the second Italian film the week. After screening to much applause at its Turin Film Festival premiere last weekend, it is being distributed by Medusa on approximately 70 screens.
Starring newcomer Antimo Merolillo, Toni and Beppe Servillo, Valeria Golino and Bentivoglio, Johnny! tells the story of a guitar player in search of success in 1970s Caserta, inspired by the personal tales of Fausto Mesolella, the guitar player of the renowned group Piccolo Orchestra Avion Travel, with whom Bentivoglio, an accomplished singer, performed extensively in a musical operetta.
"This film,” said the director, “was meant to be a tender caress for the audience and its memories. A story of music, set in the last year of [its] total naiveté and purity".
The roles were conceived and written for the supporting actors – "I wanted to work in the ‘family’” – while the lead, 18 year-old Merolillo, was chosen "in a small town in the Caserta region that had a local band, in which almost all the young kids play the guitar. I saw him and had no doubts. He was Johnny."
(Translated from Italian)
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