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Elisabetta Sgarbi is back to the silver screen with a film that, after her intense journey through the documentary form, intertwines a fictional story with the memories, the reenactment of History with an intimate investigation of the characters. A feature film that delves into a collective and shared past, a fascinating and strong-willed challenge to the oblivion.

After the successful world premiere at the Torino Film Festival, I nomi del signor Sulcic will be released theatrically by Istituto Luce Cinecittà on February 7th. Produced by Betty Wrong with Rai Cinema, penned by Sgarbi herself and Eugenio Lio, the film stars a rich a variegated cast, including an intense trio of actresses – Lučka Počkaj, Elena Radonicich, Ivana Pantaleo – who spin around the magnetic presence of non-professional actor Gabriele Levada. Besides them, a number of established actors such as Paolo Graziosi and Roberto Herlitzka, and two high-profile figures in Central European culture, Claudio Magris and Giorgio Pressburger. Music is by Franco Battiato.

The protagonist is Irena Ruppel, a fascinating Slovenian woman, who arrives in a valley of the Po river, where she is hosted by a man of that area, Gabriele. She seems to know a lot about Gabriele, whom at the same time is intrigued by this woman who doesn't speak Italian but she seems to understand everything that happens around her. Once she leaves, she gives a weak clue to Gabriele: her name and Tolmin, the name of a locality at the borders between Italy and Slovenia. Gabriele can't help it and goes to look for her, taking a journey that will bring him to the truth about his parents, himself and this woman who threw his calm life into confusion.

The director explains: “‘Take memory away from me and I’ll never grow old’ is the statement that closes the film, the verse of a Ferrara-born poet who was very dear to my father and that I really wanted to quote in my film. Because this is indeed a film about memory, on the resurfacing past, on the ghosts who take an oblivious man by surprise. But it’s also a film that celebrates the boldness of life, the possibility of saying no to the past. Sometimes a liberating act is an act of freedom.”

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