Sorrentino, Golino lead Italian charge at Cannes

Benigni's wife Braschi on jury, 'Better Stay Quiet' in shorts

Sorrentino, Golino lead Italian charge at Cannes

Paris, April 18 - Italian filmmaker Paolo Sorrentino is leading the Italian charge at Cannes this spring, making his fifth trip to the international film festival with his movie La Grande Bellezza (The Great Beauty), organizers announced Thursday. "I thank the festival for this invitation and its attention since the beginning of my work," he said. "Being selected among thousands of films is already a huge honor". Sorrentino, known for such previous Cannes selections as This Must Be The Place (2011) and Il Divo (2008), is Italy's sole candidate in the official competition for the top-prize Palme d'Or. His latest is a portrait of today's Rome that follows Jep Gambardella, an aging culture and style journalist who recollects when he first arrived in the Eternal City at the age of 26 - just like Federico Fellini, whose La Dolce Vita and Satyricon are believed to have inspired the Cannes selection. Sorrentino's rich cast of characters range from society ladies, ingenues, politicians, white-collar criminals and journalists to actors, impoverished nobles, prelates, artists and intellectuals, both real and imagined. The cast includes Carlo Verdone, Sabrina Ferilli and Carlo Buccirosso, plus a cameo appearance by Angelina Jolie. Born in Naples, Sorrentino's other two Cannes films are The Consequences of Love (2004) and The Family Friend (L'amico di famiglia, 2006) The Cannes Film Festival takes place May 15-26. Joining him there is Italian actress and filmmaker Valeria Golino, who has won a seat at the table with Miele (Honey), her directorial debut. Best known to English-speaking audiences for roles in Rain Man and the Hot Shots! films, Golino will represent Italy in the Un Certain Regard category, which runs parallel to the top-prize Palme d'Or competition and aims to promote rising talent. "I'm happy and content," Golino told ANSA. "I'm also proud to be in the same festival with other Italians who are great friends and great artists". Golino, born to an Italian father and a Greek mother in Naples, broke onto Rome's film scene after she was discovered by Italian film icon Lina Wertmueller, who cast her in A Joke of Destiny (1983) when she was still in high school. Three years later she won the Best Actress award at the Venice Film Festival for Storia d'Amore. Miele is the story of a young Italian woman who devotes her life to alleviating the pain of others, "even when they make dramatic decisions," according to the film's synopsis. Italy is also represented in the shorts category, with Elena Bouryka's Meglio Se Stai Zitta (Better Stay Quiet), which is being screened out of competition. The short story by Bouryka, a Russian-born actress, takes place on the wedding day of a 30-year-old woman who endures an array of emotions - love, jealousy, and betrayal - from her friends of the same age. The jury at the festival will also feature an Italian, actress and producer Nicoletta Braschi who, in addition to starring in Johnny Stecchino (1992) and La Vita e' Bella (Life is Beautiful, 1997) with Roberto Benigni, is also married to him. In 2012 the Italian film Reality, by Matteo Garrone, landed the second prize Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival for his film that starred prisoner-turned-film-star Aniello Arena as a Neapolitan fisherman dreaming to be on a TV reality show.

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