Italian auteur Marco Bellocchio is returning to Cannes with ‘Kidnapped’, a drama that reconstructs the true tale of Edgardo Mortara, a young Jewish boy who was kidnapped and forcibly raised as a Christian in 19th century Italy.
It’s a story that Steven Spielberg had his eye on, having announced in 2016 that he would make a drama about Mortara for which he began scouting locations in Italy, reports ‘Variety’.
Earlier this month, it also scored a slew of statuettes, including best director, at Italy’s David Awards, the country’s top film prizes.
Talking about how his approach to the story is different, Bellocchio told ‘Variety’, “Working with writer-director Susanna Nicchiarelli, who directed historical films ‘Nico, 1988’, ‘Miss Marx’ and ‘Chiara’, we used several books as sources, but also plenty of documents. Since it’s about an Italy that no longer exists, we did lots of digital effects work to reconstruct that world. But we also wanted to give the audience a real sense of what took place. Lots of work was put into the set design and the costumes. We tried to reconstruct the world of the Italian provinces.”
He further mentioned, “We were very careful in making sure the types of vernacular Italian that the characters speak were very accurate. The accuracy of the linguistic aspect was crucial to me to make it real. It’s likely that Spielbergs’s project would have been completely different. He would have done it in English. For us, we really wanted to stand up for the fact that this Jewish family was living on Italian soil.”