SWEET DREAMS / Fais de beaux rêves


West Coast Premiere • Drama • Italy, France, 2016

DCP • 2.35 • Dolby 5.1 • Color • 133 min

Directed by: Marco Bellocchio

Written by: Valia Santella, Edoardo Albinati, Marco Bellocchio

Based on a book by: Massimo Gramellini

Cinematography: Daniele Cipri    

Film Editing: Francesca Calvelli

Original Score: Carlo Crivelli

Produced by: IBC Movie, Kavac Film, Rai Cinema, Ad Vitam

Cast: Valerio Mastandrea (Massimo), Bérénice Bejo (Elisa), Guido Caprino (Massimo’s father), Nicolò Cabras (Massimo as a child), Dario Dal Pero (Massimo as a teenager), Barbara Ronchi (Massimo’s mother), Emmanuelle Devos

International Sales: The Match Factory

U.S. Distributor: Strand Releasing

U.S. Release date: May 2017


In this intensely earnest memoir, Academy Award Nominee Bérénice Bejo (The Artist) sheds daylight on the gloomy existence of a man unable to grieve over the childhood loss of his mother. Based on the bestselling Italian autobiography by Massimo Gramellini, veteran Italian director Marco Bellocchio takes us on a sprawling impressionistic journey beginning in the 1960s. Young Massimo bonds with his mother while dancing the twist, or snuggling on the sofa watching their favorite show Belphégor.  These idyllic moments will come to haunt Massimo’s adult life when, at the age of 9, he is told that his mother has died of sudden heart failure. It doesn’t make sense to him, and although Massimo later finds success as a sports journalist, he remains coolly dispassionate and detached, unable to sustain a romantic relationship. After a particularly intense bout of his frequent panic attacks, Massimo seeks help and meets Elisa (Bejo). As a woman, Elisa’s beauty and emotional generosity reminds him of his mother. As a doctor, Elisa encourages him to confront the truth about his mother’s death.


After five decades of filmmaking, certain themes become apparent. For writer/director Marco Bellocchio, those themes are the dysfunctional family, the hypocrisies of the church, and maternal love. They were nascent in his 1965 debut feature Fists in His Pocket, and explored in greater depth in such films as In the Name of the Father (1971) and My Mother’s Smile (2002). Raised in a strict Catholic family, Bellochio became an outspoken atheist. He and his friend Pier Paolo Pasolini were the face of radical Italian cinema through the mid 1970s, and many of his early films were impassioned pleas for political change. A decade later, Bellochio’s work became more personal, without losing sight of the larger social implications. His meditation on male virility in the face of changing sexual mores, The Conviction (1991), won a Special Jury Prize at Berlin. Most recently, Bellochio’s ambitious, centuries-spanning Blood of My Blood (2015) was released to critical acclaim. Sweet Dreams premiered at Cannes’ Director’s Fortnight.