Cohen Media Group has scooped rights to “Kidnapped,” the most recent film by revered Italian grasp Marco Bellocchio, which world premiered in competitors on the Cannes Film Festival. The drama reconstructs the true story of Edgardo Mortara, a younger Jewish boy who was kidnapped and forcibly raised as a Christian in Nineteenth-century Italy.
Described by Variety as a “handsomely mounted period drama,” “Kidnapped” opens in 1858, within the Jewish quarter of Bologna, the place the Pope’s troopers burst into the house of the Mortara household. By order of the cardinal, they’ve come to take Edgardo, their seven-year-old son. The youngster had been secretly baptized by his nurse as a child, and the papal regulation is unquestionable: he should obtain a Catholic schooling.
Edgardo’s mother and father, distraught, will do something to get their son again. The Mortaras are supported by public opinion and the worldwide Jewish neighborhood, however the Church and the Pope won’t comply with return the kid.
The deal was negotiated by Laura Nacher, head of gross sales operations at The Match Factory; and Robert Aaronson, senior VP at CMG.
Nacher mentioned, “Marco Bellocchio’s latest is a powerful and important story that will resonate with American audiences.”
Added Aaronson, “Marco Bellocchio has been revered on the world cinema stage for decades, and we are thrilled to bring to audiences this stirring work by a true master.”
During Cannes, Bellocchio spoke to Variety concerning the movie’s genesis, saying he “was struck by this story after reading a book about Edgardo Mortara written by a rather conservative Catholic.”
“The book traces the journey of the conversion to Catholicism of this child who is kidnapped after starting his religious journey as an Orthodox Jew. It’s a conversion that is initially forced. But Edgardo does not change his mind after Rome is freed from Papal domain. Instead, he becomes a priest and then a missionary to the end of his days,” Bellocchio mentioned. The story was additionally beforehand circled by Steven Spielberg, who had introduced in 2016 that he would make a drama about Mortara. Spielberg had even began scouting places in Italy earlier than ultimately abandoning the undertaking.
“Kidnapped” bowed in Italian cinemas on the heels of its Cannes premiere and took the third place on the native field workplace over its first weekend. As Variety reported, the movie has trigged a sizzling debate in Italy. An open letter was penned by Rome’s Chief Rabbi, Riccardo Di Segni, who mentioned, “The official defenses of Pius IX and his persecutory apparatus that are surfacing these days from many parts of the Catholic world, are, if not astonishing, at least worrying.” The Vatican City newspaper, in the meantime, reacted to the controversy by saying that the kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara “could no longer repeat itself.”
“Kidnapped” was produced by Beppe Caschetto and Simone Gattoni at IBC Movie and Kavac Film with Rai Cinema, in co-production with Ad Vitam Production in France and The Match Factory in Germany. The movie was additionally backed by Canal+, Ciné+, Bayerischer Rundfunk and Arte France Cinéma, in affiliation with Arte and Film-und Medienstiftung NRW. “Kidnapped” additionally acquired help from MIC Ministero della Cultura and the Emilia-Romagna area by means of the Emilia–Romagna Film Commission.
It marks Cohen Media’s second acquisition out of this 12 months’s Cannes Film Festival, following Martin Provost’s interval movie “Bonnard, Pierre and Marthe.”
Nick Vivarelli contributed to this report.