Italy, 1998 (MIFF 1998, International Panorama)

Director: Pupi Avati

It is the last day of 1899. A new century lies on the horizon. and Francesca Babini (Inès Sastre) is set to marry a man she does not love. Forced into the position by her family, she is openly anxious and uncertain. During the ceremony she is introduced to Angelo Beliossi (Diego Abatantuono). who has just returned from 15 years in America, where he is rumoured to have made his fortune. After one passionate glance between Francesca and Angelo, the scene is set for a charged drama.

The Best Man was nominated for Best Foreign Film at this year's Oscars, and for all the right reasons. It is a heart-warming Italian period film with the perfect ingredients of classic European drama. Pupi Avati has realised his beautifully-crafted screenplay with correct emphasis and attention to detail. While lavish in period costumes and settings. The Best Man offers quieter moments of intimacy which render it as relevant to the close of this century as to the last.

"Pupi Avati is a proven talent who has a flair for viewing large family groups through the filters of history. The settings are sumptuous, the action well-paced, and the story has so much authority it feels like there's a novel behind it."
- Screen International

Pupi Avati was born in Bologna in 1938. Since the mid-1960s he has worked as a screenwriter (collaborating with Pasolini amongst many others) as well as directing films in almost every genre, from horror and thriller - Balsamus and Zeder - to lavish historical dramas. Avati's credits include the 'Bolognese trilogy', Una Gita Scolastica, Festa Di Laurea and Regalo Di Natale.

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