Italy has picked Nostalgia, a Naples-set drama from director Mario Martone, as its best international feature Oscars submission.

The film, a modern-day adaptation of the Ermanno Rea novel, premiered to critical acclaim in Cannes this year. It stars Pierfrancesco Favino as Felice Lasco, who returns to his old neighborhood in Naples after 40 years of living in Egypt. But once back, his criminal youth begins to catch up with him. Francesco Di Leva co-stars as a local priest who helps Felice navigate the streets of modern-day Naples.

Nostalgia beat out a shortlist of Italian contenders including Felix van Groeningen and Charlotte Vandermeersch’s Italian-language drama The Eight Mountains, which won the jury prize in Cannes this year, and Emanuele Crialese’s Penelope Cruz-starrer L’Immensità, which premiered in Venice. Bones and All from Italian Oscar winner Luca Guadagnino (Call Me by Your Name) is in English, so is not in contention for the international feature Oscar.

Produced by Italy’s Picomedia, Mad Entertainment and Medusa Film together with France’s Rosebud Entertainment Pictures, Nostalgia has sold widely internationally but is still looking for a US distributor. True Colours is handling world sales.

With 14 Oscar wins, Italy is the world champion in the best international feature category. Paolo Sorrentino’s The Hand of God was among the final five international feature Oscar nominees this year, and his 2013 feature The Great Beauty was the last Italian film to win the Oscar.

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