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PRODUCTION Italy

Montaldo back with “demons”

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"Life is more interesting than the imagination, but invention make it richer," says Fyodor Dostoevsky in Giuliano Montaldo’s I demoni di San Pietroburgo [+see also:
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(“The Demons of St. Petersburg”), though he could have been speaking about cinema. The director is back after an 18-year absence, to pay homage to the grand dreams of literature and cinema that enrich our lives daily.

Montaldo has often taken on historical and social themes in his films – whether when working with Gillo Pontecorvo on Kapò and The Battles of Algiers, or directing, among other titles, Sacco and Vanzetti, Giordano Bruno, And Agnes Chose to Die and Il giocattolo, examining above all discrimination and intolerance.

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For his “comeback” he chose an idea by Andrei Konchalovsky, developed by screenwriter Paolo Serbandini: the great Russian novelist, who in the past spent 10 years in of forced labour in Siberia for his subversive intentions, finds himself, in 1860 St. Petersburg, at the centre of a revolutionary plot to kill the imperial family. In a desperate attempt to thwart the plan, he comes into contact with the young "terrorists" whose ideas of freedom and decisions to take to action were inspired precisely by his writings. "Your novels,” says police inspector Pavlovic, who suspects his involvement, "are more incendiary than terrorist proclamations".

"The film features all of my intolerance for bombs, violence and terrorism,” said Montaldo at the film’s press conference. "But this is also a story of love and dedication, of the suffering of an intellectual and the terrible limits of life".

The film – whose excellent star Miki Manojlovic (one of Emir Kusturica’s favourite actors) is flanked by Carolina Crescentini, Roberto Herlitzka, Anita Caprioli, Filippo Timi – was produced by Jean Vigo Italia. The production company – also behind Roberto Faenza’s Come Into the Light, on the life of Don Puglisi, and his more recent The Viceroys [+see also:
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– very much looks to student audiences and has also activated a toll-free number for school screenings (+ 39 800 089 483).

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(Translated from Italian)

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