“A villa in Italy” by French-italian filmmaker Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi provided a welcome dose of charm and comedy yesterday in Cannes. An exultant love letter to her brother, who died of AIDS several years ago, “Villa” is painfully autobiographical, in fact. Besides her brother (played by Filippo Timi) and her real-life mother (to whom former first lady Carla Bruni bears a striking resemblance) as…. her mother, Bruni-Tedeschi also puts her romantic wares on display, casting her real-life (former) lover Louis Garrel, the son of filmmaker Philippe Garrel (the two have since broken up, in 2012) . So many connections between reality and fiction are present in this film that your head starts to spin. “Villa,” in which a family is mired by financial troubles and is forced to sell their magnificent Italian villa, offers poignant testimony to the bonds of family in a very entertaining film package.
This is not a first picture; Bruni Tedeschi, who’s also an actress, made her debut as a director ten years ago with “Il est plus facile pour un chameau…,” a film which won awards at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2003 and at the Ankara Flying Broom Women’s Film Festival in 2004.
In 2007, Bruni Tedeschi directed “Actrices,” which won the Prix Spécial du Jury at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival.