Giuseppe Tornatore's latest film, Baarìa, was near-unanimously voted Italy's candidate for next year's foreign film Oscar. The jury voted 11 to 2 in favor of Tornatore's Sicilian epic, over Michele Placido's 1968 student revolt movie Il grande sogno, and Giulio Manfredonia's mental health tragicomedy, Si può fare.
‘I'm very happy but also intimidated...it's a big responsibility to defend the Italian colours because every country is represented by interesting films; there is so much variety,' said Tornatore, who took home an Oscar in 1990 for Nuovo Cinema Paradiso.
Baarìa made its world debut at the recent Venice Film festival to high acclaim. It was the first Italian film to open the festival in 20 years.
The big-budget movie chronicles the lives of three generations in Tornatore's Sicilian hometown of Bagheria. The film is ‘a film about my own life, which I'd wanted to make for such a long time', he told the press.
The foreign film Oscar contenders will be selected on February 2, ahead of the Oscar ceremony on March 7.