Nanni Moretti’s ‘A Brighter Tomorrow’ Opens Strong in Italy Ahead of Cannes, as Director Takes Shot at Netflix
Italian director Nanni Moretti’s new film “Il sol dell’avvenire” (“A Brighter Tomorrow”), a multi-layered love letter to filmmaking in the age of streaming giants, is doing brisk biz at the home box office ahead of its Cannes Film Festival international premiere.
The latest by Moretti — who customarily gets special permission from Cannes to release his works locally before launching them from the Croisette — has already scored close to €3 million ($3.3 million) from 500 screens in Italy via 01 Distribution since its April 20 release. “Brighter Tomorrow” came in second only to “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” last weekend, which was a long frame due to the International Workers’ Day holiday on May 1.
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Moretti’s box office result with “Brighter Tomorrow” is being hailed as a major success at a time when Italy lags behind much of Europe in terms of post-pandemic box office recovery. In 2022, the country tallied a measly 44.5 million admissions, a 48% drop compared with its average pre-pandemic level and a theatrical moviegoing recovery rate below that of France, Germany, Spain and the U.K.
“To earn almost three million Euros from roughly 500 screens with an auteur film is no small feat these days,” commented exhibitor Domenico Di Noia, who heads the country’s association of arthouse cinemas, called FICE. “For arthouse cinemas, it’s a breath of fresh air.”
In “Brighter Tomorrow,” Moretti, who often acts in his movies, stars as a Roman director who is shooting a period piece set in Rome in 1956, the year of the Hungarian Revolution when millions of citizens rebelled against Soviet domination. In this film-within-a-film, a Fellini-esque Hungarian circus arrives in the Italian capital just as Soviet tanks brutally quash the uprising in Budapest and the Italian Communist Party sides with the intervention, prompting Italian intellectuals to become disillusioned with communist ideology.
“Brighter Tomorrow” stars French actor-director Mathieu Amalric (pictured above with Moretti) as the period piece’s producer who goes bust. To salvage the project he tries to set it up with Netflix, where during a hilarious meeting the director (Moretti) is told that the screenplay is “a slow burner that doesn’t detonate.” The ensemble cast also features Polish multi-hyphenate Jerzy Stuhr, Moretti regular Margherita Buy, Silvio Orlando and Barbora Bobulova.
“I am here talking to each one of you in the flesh, with no intention of being released in 190 countries,” Moretti said, taking a clear potshot at Netflix a few days ago while presenting his latest work in a Bologna arthouse venue.
Moretti, who is 69, called “Brighter Tomorrow” “an act of love and trust in the potential theatrical audience,” noting that despite the pandemic, “the magic of seeing a film in a theater remains intact.”
“Brighter Tomorrow” is produced by Domenico Procacci’s Fandango in tandem with Moretti’s own Sacher shingle and RAI Cinema, with France’s Kinology handling international sales.
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