‘Kidnapped: The Abduction Of Edgardo Mortara’, Marco Bellocchio’s True Tale Of Jewish Boy Taken By Pope In 1800s Italy – Specialty Preview

A searing historical drama set in mid-19th century Bologna, and a TIFF award winning coming-of-age story open in limited release. The fascination with female conductors continues in doc Maestra. Netflix starts a small run with Richard Linklater comedy Hit Man. A24’s I Saw TV Glow is steady on under 400 screens. Evil Does Not Exist from Sideshow/Janus Films pops up to 138 runs.

Marco Bellocchio’s Kidnapped: The Abduction of Edgardo Mortara, which premiered at Cannes a year ago (see Deadline review) opens in NYC at Film at Lincoln Center and the Quad Cinema, expanding to LA and top 10 markets next week. Based on the true story of a six-year-old Jewish boy in Bologna abducted in 1858 by the all-powerful Catholic Church and its menacing grand inquisitor in the city after a former housekeeper’s dubious claim to have secretly baptized him as a baby.

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He was rushed secretly to Rome where he remained in a seminary under the eye of the Pope himself, along with other children forcibly removed from Jewish families in a devastating practice of the time. His anguished parents fought and Edgardo’s case became a cause celebre among Jewish communities in Italy, France, the UK (even the influential Rothschild banking family, a major lender to the church, requested a resolution) and as far away as the United States. Pope Pius IX resisted all calls to release the boy, who eventually becomes a priest. The trials of the Mortara family are intertwined with the story of Italy’s violent unification, and the end of Papal rule, as it becomes a secular state. Stars Leonardo Maltese, Fausto Russo Alesi, Barbara Ronchi and Paolo Pierobon.

Solo (no Star Wars connection) from Music Box Films nabbed Best Canadian Feature Film for director Sophia Dupuis in Toronto last year. It opens in NYC, adding LA. and Chicago next week. The TIFF jury called the film “a specifically intimate and deeply affecting film, full of palpable care and honesty. Whatever your entry point to this film, there is a place for you as part of a larger story and conversation, which is more critical than ever. This coming-of-age narrative is ultimately a film about family, both blood and chosen, and the complications and beauties of both. And it is a story of love, in all of its iterations, of how it can both fail us and set us free.”

Stars Théodore Pellerin as Simon, a rising star in Montreal’s drag scene performing lively disco pop numbers weekly at his local club. Friendly with his fellow drag queens and supported by his sister, who delights in designing increasingly elaborate costumes for his act, Simon vibrates with the passion of his adopted artistic community. When he meets Oliver (Félix Maritaud), the alluring new recruit at the club, their irresistible chemistry sparks an electric romance and a fulfilling creative collaboration — until Oliver’s dominant instincts and destructive behavior jeopardize Simon’s space in the spotlight.

Netflix opens Richard Linklater’s Glen Powell-starring Hit Man in about 45 theaters in 20 markets. The comedy-noir-romance thriller premiered at Venice, see Deadline review. Powell stars in the story loosely based on a Texas Monthly article, of Gary Johnson, a nerdy school teacher who moonlights as a hit man, and master of disguise. But he doesn’t kill people – he’s working undercover part time for the New Orleans police department to flush out the wannabe killers. In real life, Johnson nailed about 70 of them. In the film, things go off the rails when he’s hired by beautiful woman named Madison (Adria Arjona) to kill her abusive husband. He falls for her and she for his macho hit man persona and they start dating, something he has to hide from his employers. Hits the streamer June 7.

Greenwich Entertainment Opens documentary Queen Of The Deuce at IFC Center in NYC and on demand. The story of Chelly Wilson, a bisexual Jewish grandmother from Greece who escaped the Holocaust and went on to run a NYC porn cinema empire in the 1970s. The doc by Valerie Kontakos charts her unlikely rise to wealth as a shrewd businesswoman on The Deuce, aka New York’s infamous 42nd Street.

Documentary Songs of Earth from Strand Releasing, Norway’s Oscar feature film entry last year, opens in three locations in LA, NY and Vancouver ahead of a summer expansion in U.S. and Canadian markets. The film by Margreth Olin, which is executive produced by Wim Wenders and Liv Ullman, premiered at Toronto. It portrays the bond between the country’s natural beauty and Olin’s 85-year old father, examining both climate change and the passage of generations.

Maestra, a doc by Maggie Contreras, follows women competing in the La Maestra orchestral conductor competition, sharing their personal stories of survival, passion, and perseverance. Executive produced by David Letterman. Opens in New York at the Angelika Film Center with LA’s Laemmle Royal to follow on June 7.

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