Sergio Castellitto's highly-anticipated film Venuto al mondo (Twice Born in English-speaking markets) starring Penelope Cruz and Emile Hirsch debuted at the Toronto International Film as the Festival Gala Presentation.
Cruz's character Gemma rides a non-stop emotional roller-coaster through affairs, aborted pregnancies, and war atrocities in this flashback-filled film alternating between the present day and the Siege of Sarajevo in the early 1990s. Gemma brings her teen-aged son, played by Castellitto's son Pietro, back to his birthplace as she finally deals with her memories of his father's death during the war.
Actor-turned-director Castellitto, known for starring in Mostly Martha and Don't Move, which he also directed, has spent the last three years adapting the Campiello-prize-winning novel of the same name into a film fit, he hopes, for an Oscar.
Castellitto told La Repubblica, "I tried to be faithful to the book while letting the film have its independence", though the film does incorporate a few key differences, including a timeline shift and the background of Emilie Hirsch's character, who Castellitto changed into an American so Hirsch would fit the part.
Twice Born, like Castellitto's previous project Don't Move, is based on a book written by Castellitto's wife, Margaret Mazzantini.
The film is scheduled for release in Italy in November.