Italy’s True Colours has taken world sales on Italian director Mario Martone’s Cannes competition entry “Nostalgia,” starring Pierfrancesco Favino, who is known to Cannes audiences as the protagonist of Marco Bellocchio’s 2019 drama “The Traitor.”

Set in Martone’s native Naples, “Nostalgia” sees Favino play the middle-aged Felice Lasco, who returns to the bustling port city after having lived in Egypt for 40 years. Once back, he drowns into the memories of a distant life he spent in his hometown.

Martone will be returning to a Cannes competition berth with “Nostalgia” 27 years after his Elena Ferrante adaptation “L’amore molesto” (“Troubling Love”) launched in competition from the Croisette in 1995. His “The Scent of Blood” was in Directors’ Fortnight in 2004. 

But the Neapolitan film and stage director has mostly been a Venice aficionado, most recently with “The Mayor of Rione Sanità” in 2019 and “The King of Laughter” in 2021, both sold by True Colours.

“Laughter” has been sold to more than 15 territories, including to Film Movement in the U.S., and scored 16 nominations for Italy’s upcoming David di Donatello awards.

“Nostalgia,” which is based on Neapolitan author Ermanno Rea’s novel by the same title, was penned by Martone with Ippolita Di Maio.

The film is lensed by ace Italian cinematographer Paolo Carnera (TV series “Gomorrah”) and shot in Naples’ vibrant Sanità quarter, in the heart of the city, a labyrinthine area known for poverty and crime, but also for magnificent churches and Baroque buildings. Naples is clearly a strong element of the narrative.

Besides Favino, the “Nostalgia” cast also includes Francesco Di Leva, who was the lead in “The Mayor of Rione Sanità.” In Martone’s latest, she plays a priest who will guide the protagonist in the search for his roots in the city.

The rest of the cast is comprised of Tommaso Ragno, Aurora Quattrocchi, Sofia Essaidi, Nello Mascia, Emanuele Palumbo, the Ukrainian-born Naples-based actor known as Artem, Salvatore Striano and Virginia Apicella.

“Nostalgia” is an Italian-French coproduction between Italy’s Picomedia, Mad Entertainment, Medusa Film and France’s Rosebud Entertainment Pictures. The Italian release will be handled by Medusa while France’s Arp Seléction will distribute the film in France. 

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