Locarno: Intramovies Takes World Sales on Inquisition Drama ‘Menocchio’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Rome-based sales company Intramovies has taken world sales rights on Italian director Alberto Fasulo’s Inquisition period piece “Menocchio” ahead of its world premiere in competition at the upcoming Locarno Festival.

Set during the late 16th century in the mountains of the Northeastern Italian region of Friuli, “Menocchio” is based on the true tale of a miller who was burned at the stake for heresy after he rebelled against Roman Catholic Church impositions.

The story of “Menocchio,” whose real name was Domenico Scandella, was revealed in a widely-translated book titled “The Cheese and the Worms” by historian Carlo Ginzburg and has become a symbol of resistance against injustice and abuse. Ginzburg’s reconstruction has also drawn comparisons in terms of atmospherics to Umberto Eco’s “The Name of the Rose.” 

Praised by Locarno artistic director Carlo Chatrian for “visuals that take their cue from Italian renaissance paintings,” “Menocchio” is Fasulo’s second feature following naturalistic trucking drama “TIR,” which made a splash after winning the best film prize at the 2013 Rome Film Festival.

Intramovies sales manager Valerio Fusco in a statement called Fasulo “one of the real talents among Italian directors today, with a visceral feel for story telling.” Other titles on the Intramovies slate include Cuban drama “A Translator,” which launched from Sundance, and Italian director Daniele Luchetti’s economic crisis comedy “I am Tempesta.”

Fasulo’s ambitious “TIR” followup is produced by Nadia Trevisan for Nefertiti Film (which also produced “TIR”) in collaboration with RAI Cinema and in in co-production with Romania’s Hai-Hui Entertainment.

Fasulo, who is a former documaker, handled the lensing  on “Menocchio” himself and also worked with non-professional actors. He has said in several interviews that he was drawn to the story of a man who is incapable of betraying his principles because of its relevance today, when there is a great need of people with a similar moral fibre. 

But the director has also pointed out that his ties to “Menocchio” stem from his being a native of Friuli, hearing the story for years, and then realizing that, thanks to the book, it was known all over the world.