Thriller inspired by China’s 2008 milk scandal stars Luca Barbareschi and Zhang Jingchu.

The Mercury Factor

Italy’s Rai Trade will launch sales on Italian actor and director Luca Barbareschi’s Hong Kong-set thriller The Mercury Factor (fka Something Good) at the American Film Market (AFM) next week. 

The film, which will receive its market premiere, stars Barbareschi as unscrupulous, Hong Kong-based Italian businessman Matteo, who is involved in the trade of adulterated food goods. He has been forced to leave his native Italy due to shady dealings back home.

Chinese actress Zhang Jingchu, seen this summer in mainland China blockbuster Switch, plays a young woman whose only child died as a result of eating contaminated food.  She unwittingly falls for Matteo, unaware of his criminal activities.

The storyline is loosely inspired by the Italian bestseller I Trust You – a joint work by journalist Francesco Abate and top crime writer Massimo Carlotto – as well as the 2008 China milk scandal in which baby formula was bulked up with melamine, poisoning some 300,000 children.  

Barbareschi, a popular actor in Italy where he also served a member of parliament for five years, produced the film through his Rome-based Casanova Multimedia company in collaboration with Rai Cinema.

The film premiered in Hong Kong last September as part of the Cine Italiano season run by the Hong Kong International Film Festival, where it prompted interest from local buyers, according to Rai Trade.

Other Rai Trade market premieres include Riccardo Paoletti’s English-language, horror mystery Neverlake.

The paranormal thriller stars British actress Daisy Keeping as a young girl who travels to Tuscany to spend time with her estranged, archaeologist father who is obsessed with ancient Etruscans. She discovers that some of the Etruscan relics in her father’s collection hold a terrifying secret.

It is the debut feature for Milan-based commercials director Paoletti.