EXCLUSIVE: Double Palme D’Or winner Emir Kusturica is to direct and star alongside Monica Bellucci in Love And War, a new feature to shoot next month in southern Bosnia.

The $5 million feature marks Kusturica’s return to fiction after seven years. The director plays the lead, a man at war who becomes a monk at the end of his life. Kusturica also scripted the project.

Monica Bellucci is to star alongside Kusturica as the love of the man’s life. The Italian actress has been learning Serbian in preparation for the role.

Love And War is being produced by Paula Vaccaro through Pinball London Ltd, Lucas Akoskin and Alex Garcia through BN Films in Los Angeles and Rasta International (Kusturica’s own company.) The film is being put together as a Serbian-UK-US production.

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The project has been developed to feature leserbsersngth from an idea Kusturica originally explored in a short film he made for omnibus feature Words With Gods, which Vaccaro also produced.

Vaccaro collaborated with Kusturica on his 2008 feature doc Maradona and has also worked closely with him at his festival in Kustendorf.

A sales company will be announced shortly.

Kusturica won the Palme d’Or at the 1985 Cannes Film Festival for When Father Was Away On Business and claimed the top prize again in 1995 with Underground.