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Il paese delle spose infelici
becomes a film
As from November on Italian screens Pippo Mezzapesa’s film based on the novel by Mario Desiati, shot exclusively in Massafra (Puglia) by Maria Grazia Rongo
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The director, Pippo Mezzapesa, the leading actor Alyn Prandi and fellow actors Nicolas Orzella, (seated on the ground) and Luca Schipani during a break on set. Photo courtesy of Patrizia Vendola


An autumn characterised by cinema Made in Puglia. From 11th November the film Il paese delle spose infelici will be showing in Italian cinemas, marking the debut for a full-length movie made by the young Apulian (from Bitonto near Bari) Pippo Mezzapesa, prize-winning director of short films and documentaries like Zinanà, Come a Cassano, Pinuccio Lovero. Sogno di una morte di mezza estate and L’altra metà.

Inspired by the novel of the same name (Mondatori 2008) by the Apulian writer Mario Desiati (born in Martina Franca near Taranto, Desiati, with his latest novel Ternitti, Mondadori 2011, was one of the five runners-up for the Premio Strega 2011 award), the film is co-produced by Domenico Procacci’s Fandango company, Rai Cinema and the Apulia Film Commission. Puglia’s talent is the real protagonist of the film, if we remember that the director, producer, co-scriptwriter (Antonella Gaeta), most of the cast and the crew, and not least, the author of the novel on which the film is based, are all Apulian. The movie, which was shot between the end of March last, and mid-May, was filmed entirely in Massafra, a little town close to Taranto, with an almost ancestral charm, which was the set, in the Sixties, of Pier Paolo Pasolini’s masterpiece, Il Vangelo secondo Matteo (The Bible according to St. Matthew). A natural and architectural landscape that reflects perfectly the early Nineties’ image of a South teeming with contrasts which acts as a backdrop to the story of love and friendship created by Desiati’s very original pen.

Il paese delle spose infelici, tells the story of two adolescent friends, who despite their great differences are destined to remain inseparable. Veleno, shy and introverted, and Zazà, proud and stubborn, played by Nicolas Orzella and Luca Schipani, young actors on their debut appearance in front of the cameras, who both fall under the spell of the lovely Annalisa (who on the big screen will be played by the French-Swiss-Italian actor Alyn Prandi) who is quite a lot older than them. With her charms lying somewhere between those of a fairy and those of a witch, and her controversial and disturbing background, Annalisa is a sort of “stray madonna”, according to the director. The cast also includes Antonio Gerardi, Rolando Ravello, Valentina Carnellutti, Nicola Rignanese and Teresa Saponangelo.

A project which is also the result of the success of the Fondazione Apulia Film Commission, presided by Oscar Iarussi, and managed by Silvio Maselli, earning accolades on an international level, with Puglia becoming the set of choice for high level movie productions like Ferzan Ozpetek’s 1a test film, Mine vaganti (Loose Cannons). Producer Domenico Procacci, on the eve of Mezzapesa’s film’s arrival in our cinemas, comments: “Finally we can shoot a film in Puglia relying on our own resources”. A work that is in line with the cultural policy that the Puglia region is making great efforts to implement successfully in order to show off to the world its skills and talents.