The film on Marche-born poet Giacomo Leopardi is the best hope for Italy at the Venice Film Festival

Three Italian hopefuls including a keenly awaited biopic of the most loved poet after Dante, Giacomo Leopardi, are vying for the Golden Lion with 52 other contenders for the top prize at the world’s oldest film fest opening in Venice Wednesday night.

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Following Italy’s win last year for the film Sacro GRA, this year’s competition from Italy unfolds between Mario Martone’s 19th-century drama about Italy’s greatest poet since Dante, Il Giovane Favoloso (The Fabulous Young Man) starring Elio Germano, a screen adaptation of the book Black Souls directed by Francesco Munzi; and Saverio Costanzo’s Hungry Hearts, starring Adam Driver and Alba Rohrwacher.

The three Italian films in competition are touted as presenting the best Italian offering for years and giving Italy a chance to have a two-year winning streak for the Lido’s highest prize.

Martone’s film centres on Marche-born poet Giacomo Leopardi, known for his legendary pessimism and immortal odes, and Italy’s most anthologised poet after the Divine Comedy bard, played here by Germano in the spirit of an anti-conformist rebel.The title comes from a short story about the precocious and prodigiously gifted Leopardi by Anna Maria Ortese.

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