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First Look: Penelope Cruz & Emile Hirsch In Sergio Castellitto’s Romantic War-Drama ‘Twice Born’

First Look: Penelope Cruz & Emile Hirsch In Sergio Castellitto's Romantic War-Drama 'Twice Born'

After their collaboration nearly ten years ago on the romantic drama “Don’t Move,” it was revealed last year that Penelope Cruz and Italian actor-director Sergio Castellitto were set to reunite once again on a new project. As was the case with their first teaming, Cruz and Castellitto have turned to the helmer’s wife, writer-actress Margaret Mazzantini, for inspiration with an adaptation her romantic war-drama “Venuto Al Mondo” that’ll also feature Emile Hirsch, in a surprising piece of casting.

Little had been heard from the project since these announcements but now, thanks to Wild Bunch (via ION Cinema), a host of images have been unveiled providing our first look at Cruz and Hirsch for the story of a woman who returns to Sarajevo with her son in tow and revisits the tumultuous past she shared with his late father. Interestingly, it looks like Hirsch will in fact play Cruz’s late husband — a role which surely marks one of his most mature roles and could represent a big gear-change from the teenager/young adult roles he’d be use to portraying.

The cast also features Jane Birkin as well as Adnan Haskovic, Pietro Castellitto, Saadet Aksoy and Luca De Filippo. Here’s an extended synopsis of the film, which has been retitled “Twice Born“:

Gemma leaves her comfortable apartment in Rome to visit Sarajevo with her son, Pietro. An exhibit commemorating the siege will include photographs by Pietro’s father, Diego. Sixteen years earlier, Gemma escaped the war-torn city with Pietro while Diego remained behind and later died. As she uses the visit to repair her difficult relationship with Pietro, she also confronts her past.

She first met and fell in love with Diego while visiting Sarajevo as a student in the 1980s. After many upheavals, the two lovers found passionate, if temporary, happiness. They desperately wanted children but Gemma could not conceive. As Sarajevo was being torn apart by the siege of 1992, they found a possible surrogate – Aska, a young and beautiful musician. Gemma pushed her into Diego’s arms, only to be overwhelmed by guilt and jealousy. Now, a revelation awaits Gemma in Sarajevo that will force her to face the full extent of her loss, the true horror of war and the redemptive power of love.

Presumably, the film also has a chance to premiere in Cannes this May as Castellitto did with 2004’s “Don’t Move” — which screened in the Un Certain Regard section — but the actor-director seems to have to fairly strong ties with the Lido as well.

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