I demoni di San Pietroburgo, L’anno mille

i demoni di san pietroburgo

It’s always nice to come across a new film by an old favourite, and this week sees the release of I demoni di San Pietroburgo by Guiliano Montaldo, director of Machine Gun McCain, Grand Slam, Sacco & Vanzetti and Time to Kill, amongst many others.

Set in St Petersburg in the 1860s, the story plays a similar job to films like Shakespeare in Love, by putting a real-life author into a fictional story. This time the writer is Fyodor Dostoyevskiy, who becomes mixed up in a terrorist plot to assassinate the Tsar after interviewing a young man incarcerated in a lunatic asylum. In the meantime, though, he has to deal with all the usual problems of a writer: pushy loansharks, lacadaisical publishers, epilepsy.

The review have been broadly positive to date, and I really do hope it makes it to the International markets. Montaldo was one of the most profoundly talented filmmakers of his generation, albeit one who never really managed to fulfil his promise. Box office takings have been moderate within Italy (around €288K euros over the weekend). You can see the trailer on YouTube.

Another historical drama, this time with fantasy elements, is L’anno mille, which came out to a pretty poor reception this weekend (€65K). This one intercuts between two periods: the present day and the turn of the first millenium, where an alchemist has opened a door into the future. The same characters seem to reappear: Valerio (Marco Bonni) is a doctor in the contemporary thread, a Prince in the Middle Ages. In both stories he is in love with Altea (Giada Desideri), an intern / princess, and has to fight of the evil alchemist / hospital manager (Franco Oppini).

Again, there’s not a great deal of information about this one, beyond a trailer up on YouTube. It looks interestign, though. Buried quite a way down in the cast is Tano Cimarosa, an old favourite character actor who also directed some b-movies back in the 70s.

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