As expected, Nanni Moretti's The Son's Room has won Italy's nomination to join the foreign language Oscar race. The Moretti picture, which won the Cannes Palme d'Or in May, beat competition from local heavyweights The Last Kiss and Ignorant Fairies. Meanwhile, Iceland has selected Agust Gudmundsson's new feature The Seagull's Laughter as its Academy Award entry.
The Son's Room, which marks a significant departure from Moretti's previous autobiographical and ironic work, stars Moretti and Italian actress Laura Morante as the perfectly happy middle-class parents of two teenagers, until their son one day dies in a scuba diving accident. The film then explores the family's different ways of dealing with grief.
"I am not sure what Americans will like about the film, although perhaps the theme of mourning and grief does have a greater significance today," Moretti said.
In addition to the Palme d'Or, The Son's Room has won Italy's Best Film prize at the David di Donatello, the local Oscar equivalents, and the Best Director prize at the prestigious Silver Ribbon awards. At both awards, Moretti's film shared honours with Gabriele Muccino's The Last Kiss and Ferzan Ozpetek's Ignorant Fairies. Both films were huge box office hits in Italy last season.
The Son's Room, which has earned an impressive 14 billion lire at the local box office, has been sold by Wild Bunch to a host of territories, including the US and Canada (Miramax) Latin America and Japan (Warner Bros) and the UK (Momentum)
The Seagull's Laughter bagged six local film awards, 'Eddas', from the Icelandic film and television academy over the weekend, winning prizes for best picture, best director and best script. Margret Vilhjalmsdottir was awarded best actress, while popular heartthrob Hilmir Snaer Gudnason (101 Reykjavik) received the best supporting actor prize. Kristbjorg Kjeld took the award for best supporting actress.
The Seagull's Laughter takes place in a small fishing village, in the years after the Second World War. Freyja (Margret Vilhjalmsdottir) returns from the land of "Big Dreams" after her husband, an American officer passes away, and begins to disrupt the entire community. Director Agust Gudmundsson adapted the screenplay from the best-selling novel by Kristin Marja Baldursdottir. It was produced by Kristin Atladottir for her and Gudmundsson's Isfilm in collaboration with Hope & Glory Productions (GER) and Archer Street (UK).
Additional reporting by Jacob Neiiendam