Berlin Golden Bear Winner Paolo Taviani Set to Shoot ‘Canto Delle Meduse’ With Kasia Smutniak (EXCLUSIVE)

Rexa Vella

Berlin Golden Bear Winner Paolo Taviani Set to Shoot ‘Canto Delle Meduse’ With Kasia Smutniak (EXCLUSIVE)

Revered Italian auteur Paolo Taviani will soon be back in the director’s chair.

Shooting is set to start in April on “Canto Delle Meduse,” a pandemic-themed drama helmed by Taviani with Polish-Italian actor Kasia Smutniak (“Domina”) attached to star. The rest of the film’s cast is being kept under wraps. 

Fandango is launching sales at the EFM on the project, which is produced by Donatella Palermo’s Stemal Entertainment and RAI Cinema.

Taviani, who, with his late brother Vittorio, won the Berlin Golden Bear in 2012 with drama “Caesar Must Die,” and in 2022 competed at the Berlinale with solo work “Leonora Addio.”

“Canto Delle Meduse,” which translates as “Chant of the Gorgons” — gorgons being the mythical Greek female creatures with snakes on their heads that can turn people into stone by looking at them — is a film that “depicts several days during lockdown that forced us to stay inside our homes like bad kids. And the wish to go out and walk,” Taviani said in his directors’ statement.

“But the silence outside was not a silence inside me. I was alive with a big desire to fight against the unknown with my only extraordinary weapon: cinema,” he went on to note.

The film begins with two young doctors on a beach near Rome 2,000 years ago who are waxing philosophical about the future of their profession. They then dive into the Mediterranean Sea to reach a mythical island of the singing gorgons, who could turn them into stone, according to a provided synopsis.

Cut to Rome in 2020 in full lockdown and that same beach. A TV news report announces that a well-known Italian doctor has died of COVID-19 and a friend and fellow doctor reminisce about things they did together, including swimming to that same mythical island.

“Canto Delle Meduse” interweaves four tales tied to the 2020 pandemic. Another one of the four narrative strands involves the funeral of a woman named Valeria who, shortly before dying due to COVID-19, had expressed to her female friends the passionate wish to not be buried in the family tomb with her husband, whom she hated. 

Taviani, who is 92, will be working with his regular cinematographer Simone Zampagnani and editor Roberto Perpignani. Oscar-winning composer Nicola Piovani (“Life Is Beautiful”) will work on the film’s score.

The prolific Taviani brothers emerged in the 1970s as a filmmaking duo whose works blended neo-realism with more modern storytelling in works such as “Padre Padrone,” which won the 1977 Cannes Palme d’Or, World War II drama “The Night of the Shooting Stars” (1982) and “Kaos” (1984), which is based on works by Luigi Pirandello. Vittorio Taviani died in 2018.

The first-ever retrospective in the U.K. of their work, titled: “Magical Realism — The Film Fables of the Taviani Brothers,” is currently playing at BFI Southbank in London.

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