A total of seven Italian films will be vying for the chance to represent Italy at the Oscars next year in the competition for Best Foreign Language Film.
A commission of Italian industry experts will now start the selection process, with the entry expected to be announced on January 16th next year.
The films, which were all released in Italy between October 1st 2012 and September 30th 2013, range from Palme d’Or nominee Paolo Sorrentino’s La grande bellezza to lesser-known John Real’s Midway tra la vita e la morte (Midway between life and death).
Other contenders include Valeria Golino’s Miele (Honey), Alessandro Gassman’s Razza bastarda (Bastard race), Antonio Piazza and Fabio Grassadonia’s Salvo, Maria Sole Tognazzi’s Viaggio sola (Lone voyage) and Roberto Andò’s Viva la libertà (Long live liberty).
John Real’s horror picture, which was only released in 29 movie theatres, half of them in Sicily, follows the story of a young couple who spend a spooky weekend in the woods with their friends.
“A very small distribution – it’s true,” Real, whose real name is Giovanni Marzagalli, told La Repubblica in an interview. “But I enjoyed good reviews and enthusiasm from the public.”
Nevertheless, the 24-year-old director hopes that his film, which cost less than €100,000 to make, will have an international appeal.
“It’s been a really long time since we [Italians] have made a film of this kind. I liked the idea of being able to present a new Italy abroad,” the director added.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Italy has won more foreign language Oscars than any other country, with 13 winning films.
The 86th edition of the Oscar ceremony itself will take place on Sunday March 2nd 2014.