Bellocchio's 'Beauty' Turns into Ugly Battle

By Vivarelli, Nick | Variety, January 30-February 5, 2012 | Go to article overview

Bellocchio's 'Beauty' Turns into Ugly Battle


Vivarelli, Nick, Variety


ROME

Revered "provoc-auteur" Marco Bellocchio ("Vincere") is stirring Italo ire with his latest hot-button project, "Sleeping Beauty," which takes its cue from a divisive local right-to die case similar to the 2005 Terri Schiavo controversy in the U.S.

The Friuli Venezia Giulia region, known for its conservative Catholic bent, is trying to prevent production shingle Cattleya from obtaining up to $200,000 in gap financing for Bellocchio's "Beauty," which interweaves three separate life-and-death story strands against the backdrop of Italy's 2009 Eluana Englaro rightto-die controversy.

Englaro, 38, had spent 17 years in a vegetative state following a car crash. Her family, with the support of Italian president Giorgio Napolitano, eventually won a decade-long court battle that pitted them against then-premier Silvio Berlusconi and the Vatican to allow doctors to take her off life-support.

Co-penned by Italo scribe Stefano Rulli ("The Best of Youth") and novelist Veronica Raimo, "Beauty" includes a storyline - which gives the film its title - involving a past-her-prime movie star, played by Isabelle Huppert, who keeps her beautiful but comatose daughter alive inside their home. Another strand sees Italo actress Alba Rohrwacher ("I Am Love") as a young Catholic militant; her father is played by Toni Servillo ("? Divo").

"We don't want to be perceived as a place that fosters a culture of death," lamented one of the region's pois after attempting to prevent the pic from even applying for local coin. …

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