Moretti was born in Bruneck, South Tyrol, Italy, to Roman parents who were both teachers. His father was the late epigraphist Luigi Moretti, a Greek teacher at Sapienza University of Rome. While growing up he discovered his two passions, the cinema and water polo. Having finished his studies he pursued a career as a producer, and in 1973 directed his first two short films: Pâté de bourgeois and The Defeat (La sconfitta). His brother is literary scholar Franco Moretti. In 1976, Giovanni’s first feature film Io sono un autarchico (I am Self-Sufficient) was released. In 1978 he wrote, directed and starred in the movie Ecce Bombo, which tells the story of a student having problems with his entourage. It was screened at the Cannes Festival. Sogni d’oro won the Silver Lion at the 38th Venice International Film Festival. La messa è finita won the Silver Bear – Special Jury Prize at the 36th Berlin International Film Festival. He may be best known for his films Caro diario (Dear Diary, 1993; followed in 1998 by a sequel, Aprile) and La stanza del figlio (The Son’s Room, 2001), the latter of which won the Palme d’Or at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival. Moretti has used certain actors several times in his films, generally playing minor roles. His father Luigi appears in 6 films, Dario Cantarelli and Mauro Fabretti in 5, Antonio Petrocelli in 4. More notable Italian actors he has employed frequently in his films include Silvio Orlando, who appears in 5 films (including the role of protagonist in Il caimano) and Laura Morante, who featured in Sogni d’oro, Bianca and The Son’s Room. Having played waterpolo in the B division of the Italian championship, his experience later inspired his film Palombella Rossa (“palombella,” which literally means “little pigeon,” refers to a type of lob shot). His other work has not been widely seen outside Europe, but within his country Moretti is known as a maker of wryly humorous and eccentric films, usually starring himself. His most recent role was in the film Mia Madre (My Mother, 2015). Moretti is also an outspoken political leftist: in 2002 he organized street protests against the government of Silvio Berlusconi. Il caimano (2006) is in part about Berlusconi’s controversies: in one of the three portraits of the Italian prime minister Moretti himself plays Berlusconi. Aprile also deals with Italy’s political situation and Moretti’s views on it. His 2011 film We Have a Pope screened In Competition at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival. He lives in Rome, having been resident since birth, where he is co-owner of a small movie theater, Nuovo Sacher. The short film, Il Giorno della prima di Close Up (Opening Day of Close-Up, 1996), shows Moretti at his theatre attempting to encourage patrons to attend the opening day of Abbas Kiarostami’s film, Close Up. He is not religious. In his words, “I remember the shirts that said ‘Thank God I’m an atheist’. Funny. But I do not think so. I’m not a believer and I’m sorry.” His 2015 film Mia Madre was selected to compete for the Palme d’Or at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival.
Life and career
Morante was born in Santa Fiora, province of Grosseto (Tuscany), the daughter of lawyer and playwright Marcello Morante, who was the son of Irma (née Poggibonsi) (a schoolteacher of Jewish descent) and Francesco Lo Monaco, from Sicily, and brother of the novelist Elsa Morante. Laura’s mother is Maria Bona Palazzeschi. Originally a dancer, Morante started her acting career on stage at 18 years old, in the theatrical company of Carmelo Bene. She made her film debut in Oggetti Smarriti (Lost Belongings)., directed by Giuseppe Bertolucci, whose brother would direct the second film in which Morante would appear, La Tragedia di un uomo ridicolo (The Tragedy of a Ridiculous Man). She eventually had her breakout thanks to Nanni Moretti, who gave her the title role in Bianca. After her marriage to French actor Georges Claisse, Morante moved to Paris, where, thanks to her participation in numerous productions, she acquired a certain notoriety in European art cinema. Returned to Italy, in 2001 she eventually won the David di Donatello for best actress her performance in Moretti’s The Son’s Room. Later she was nominated for the David di Donatello in the same category in 2003, for Gabriele Muccino’s Remember Me, My Love, and won the Silver Ribbon for best actress for Love Is Eternal While It Lasts (2003) by Carlo Verdone. Morante attracted considerable attention with her performance as the neglected Madame Jourdain, with whom the young Molière, played by Romain Duris, falls in love, in the 2007 release Molière. She also provided the voice of Helen Parr/Elastigirl in the Italian-dubbed version of the Pixar animated film, The Incredibles. Very active in France, in 2012 Morante made her directorial debut with the French-Italian co-production Cherry on the Cake, for which she was nominated for the David di Donatello for Best New Director.