A few weeks after presenting his series Esterno Notte at the Cannes Film Festival, Marco Bellocchio has begun shooting a new film, La Conversione. At 82 the Italian film-maker is working on his 25th feature.
For this project, he was inspired by the true story of Edgardo Morara a young Jewish boy who, in 1858, was forcibly taken from his family to be raised as a Christian. His parents’ fight for his release turned into a political battle, pitting the Vatican against the forces of democracy and Italian unification. But once an adult, Edgardo became an Augustinian priest.
The story was going to be adapted for the cinema by Steven Spielberg. Marco Bellocchio thinks he abandoned the project for “political reasons. Even though [the story] took place 170 years ago, people might think it has the potential to rekindle animosity between Jews and Catholics […].”
Marco Bellocchio and Susanna Nicchiarellie (director and screenwriter of Miss Marx) worked together on the screenplay. They collaborated with Edoardo Albinati and Daniela Ceselli as well as with Pina Toraro, who was their historical adviser. Many of Bellocchio’s usual collaborators worked behind the camera, including DoP Francesco Di Giacomo (Esterno Notte), production designer Andrea Castorina (The Traitor) and editor Francesca Calvelli (Esterno Notte, The Traitor).
The Italian production companies include IBCmovie, Kavac Film production and Rai Cinema. The French and German co-production companies are Ad Vitam Production and Match Factory Productions. The film should be released in 2023.