Mediterraneo by Gabriele Salvatores, Italy, 1991, 105’

When a group of Italian soldiers washes up on a Greek island after the Allies sink their ship, the men initially believe that the region is deserted. However, they discover that the islanders have been in hiding, and the soldiers, winning the trust of the locals, gradually become part of the community. As the Italians, including Lt. Raffaele Montini (Claudio Bigagli), ease into an idyllic existence, they begin to forget about war and pursue romance with the lovely women of the island.

Born in Naples, Salvatores debuted as a theatre director in 1972, founding in Milan the Teatro dell’Elfo, for which he directed several avant-garde pieces until 1989.In that year, he directed his third feature film, Marrakech Express, which was followed in 1990 by Turné. Both films shared a group of actor-friends, including Diego Abatantuono and Fabrizio Bentivoglio, who will be present in many of his later movies. Turné was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 1990 Cannes Film Festival.In 1991, Salvatores received international praise for Mediterraneo, which won an Academy Award as best foreign film.[2] It also won three David di Donatello, the most important award for Italian cinema, and a Nastro d’Argento. The main themes of Salvatores’ screenplays are escape from a reality that cannot be accepted or understood, nostalgia for friends, and voyages that never end.

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