HomeCiak In MostraCiak In Mostra 2023Venice 80 kicks off with Comandante. Barbera: «It will be the Festival...

Venice 80 kicks off with Comandante. Barbera: «It will be the Festival of Surprises»

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  • Comandante by Edoardo De Angelis 
  • Alberto Barbera: «It will be the Festival of Surprises»


Italy, 2023, Director Edoardo De Angelis, Cast Pierfrancesco Favino, Massimiliano Rossi, Silvia D’Amico, Paolo Bonacelli, Andrés Almeida, Francisco Rubio, Runtime 174′

After Lacci at Venice 77, in 2020, during the Covid pandemic, an Italian film again has the privilege of opening the Venice International Film Festival in the prestigious edition number 80. We are talking about Comandante, a true colossal (15 million euros budget) directed by Edoardo De Angelis, produced by Indigo Film and O’Groove with Rai Cinema, Tramp LTD, VGroove and Wise Pictures. It stars Pierfrancesco Favino (we will also find him in Stefano Sollima’s Adagio, also in competition), who plays Salvatore Todaro, commander of the Royal Navy who was entrusted with the submarine Cappellini at the beginning of World War II. A man of great courage, followed with unconditional trust by his crew, in October 1940, Todaro is the protagonist of a gesture destined to go down in History. While sailing in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, the silhouette of a merchant ship travelling with its lights off, the Kabalo, looms in the dark of night. The ship opens fire toward the Cappellini, who will emerge victorious from the encounter by sinking the vessel. But Todaro is not only a soldier but also a human being with solid values, which prevents him from letting the 26 survivors of the enemy crew die at sea. He thus welcomes them aboard so that he can then disembark them at the nearest port. Unable to take them in below deck, the commander decides to travel for three days and nights emerged, thus putting his men at risk, but knowing that he made the right decision.

De Angelis, a director who likes challenges, arrives for the third time in Venice and for the first time in competition (previously out of competition with Perez. and at Venice Days with Indivisibili) telling an essential page of Italian History, finding in Favino a companion of adventure determined to give Salvatore Todaro the lustre due to a character of such depth. As the director told Ciak when he was still on set, “I discovered this story in 2018, when Admiral Giovanni Pettorino told it during the 123rd-anniversary celebrations of the Coast Guard. To convince Sandro Veronesi to write the screenplay with me, I made him my famous pasta and potatoes with a secret ingredient. We had access to the Todaro family archive, which contains letters to his wife, Rina. Thanks to this correspondence, we have reconstructed the commander’s thoughts. He was not a pacifist but a military man convinced of his mission, which did not prevent him from remembering what humanity at sea means.” The film will arrive in Italian theatres thanks to 01 Distribution.


Barbera: “It will be the Festival of Surprises”

I am really satisfied with the quality and variety of the films featured at the Festival, and also convinced that, alongside the masters, the great surprises will be directors of a new generation, capable in some cases extraordinary works.” On the eve of Venice 80, Alberto Barbera, the Artistic Director of the Venice Film Festival enjoys the inauguration of the new Sala Perla, completely refurbished, to celebrate the event alongside Biennale President Roberto Cicutto, Director General Andrea Del Mercato, the Minister of Culture Gennaro Sangiuliano, and the Mayor of Venice Luigi Brugnaro. Barbera started with his expectations, “I like to be cautious, but the premises are really good: sales of tickets for the Festival’s films are up compared to last year, and also the accreditation requests.” This figure gains more strength, considering that the strike by actors and Hollywood screenwriters deprived Venice 80 of a few well-known films and faces. This year, there are six Italian movies in the Official Competition, something unheard of for the past two decades: “They were really good. It would have been a shame to have to sacrifice some of them. They represent different ways of understanding cinema and telling stories. They also represent generations in growth, and I am convinced that they will meet the public’s taste.” On track with the tradition, Barbera agrees to get off the hook with Ciak on the title that he believes will be able to represent more than others the surprise of Venice 80: “Die Theorie Von Allen, by young German director Timm Kröger, mixes genres, reflections, openings to philosophical themes, even thriller. It is a true example of a new way to cinema.”

By Flavio Natalia

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