Italian filmmaker Michele Placido on the set of his 'Romanzo Criminale', with actor Stefano Accorsi.
Italian actor-director Michele Placido, whose last film as director, Romanzo criminale (Crime Novel) was part of the Berlinale Competition in 2006, is readying a new project for him to direct called Il grande sogno (lit. The Big Dream), about his experiences during the tumultuous period of spring 1968. Initially titled Cari compagni, the project will star local sex symbol Riccardo Scamarcio (Mio fratello è figlio unico / My Brother is an Only Child) as the character closest to Placido own experience: a young police man who goes undercover within the student movement only to find he actually sympathises with them.
Filming will start at the end of August in Ascoli Satriano, the village in the province of Foggia in Southern Italy from where Placido himself left for the Italian capital in 1968, to start his job as a rookie police officer. On March 1, he had himself just done three rounds as a guard close to the university premises when he was sent off to rest and the student riots broke out in front of the faculty of architecture in Valle Giulia. The events of the spring of 1968 finally made Placido decide to attend the Academy of Dramatic Arts rather than pursue a career in the police.
"The film will be a film with many protagonists and different points of view," said Placido in the Italian media, explaining that one of the main characters will be a bourgeois Catholic girl who ends up joining the protests for peace. "The film will not be nostalgic," Placido added. "Instead, we want to tell the youngsters of today about the youngsters of yesterday."
The project, written by the director with Angelo Pasquini and Doriana Leondeff, has been in development for quite some years but was extensively re-written when another Italian director, Bernardo Bertolucci, made a film about the 1968 student riots in Paris that was too similar to Placido's original idea. (That film, The Dreamers, in its turn inspired French director Philippe Garrel to counter the "perfume-add approach" of Bertolucci with his own bleak black-and-white account of 1968 called Les amants réguliers / Regular Lovers).
Besides Scamarcio, the casting of the film includes his Mio fratello è figlio unico co-star Elio Germano, Laura Morante (Les fauteuils d'orchestre / Avenue Montaigne), Giovanna Mezzogiorno (La bestia nel cuore / Don' Tell) and Jasmine Trinca, who already starred in Placido's Romanzo Criminale, as did Scamarcio and Germano. Being a French co-production, the film also has several French actresses on the pay-roll, including, according to cineuropa.org, Carole Bouquet (Feux rouges / Red Light) and Isabelle Huppert (Nue propriété / Private Property). Placido himself will also have a supporting role in the film. After the scenes set in the South of Italy which will be filmed later this month and into September, the majority of the film will be shot early next year in Rome.