An Italian Jewish book steps into the spotlight in Sophia Loren’s big screen comeback
After more than a decade, Netflix’s The Life Ahead brings back to the screen the legendary Sophia Loren. Set in Italy’s port of Bari and based on Romain Gary’s book The Life Before Us, the movie tells the story of an aging Holocaust survivor and ex prostitute who makes a living sheltering the children of local sex workers. The unexpected happens when the woman forges an unlikely bond with Momo, a young immigrant from Senegal who recently robbed her.
Directed by the actress’s son Edoardo Ponti, the film is rich in references to Judaism and Jewish traditions. Like the book with the light blue cover in the scene where Momo helps another kid to keep up with his Hebrew reading. Titled Bereshit-Genesis, it is the first volume of the series La mia Torah (my Torah) published by Giuntina and developed by Rome teachers Anna Coen and Mirna Dell’Ariccia under the auspice of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities.
The movie is one of the several contenders to the Italian submission for Best International Feature Film and is considered among the most promising to give the category a genuine chance. Sophia Loren’s comeback drew an extraordinary visibility to the movie on the international scene, and The Life Ahead can count on the powerful promotional support of Netflix. Also, the Italian actress, who was the first actor to win an Oscar for a performance not in English in 1961 for Two Women, is considered a strong contender in this year’s Best Actress category for her affecting role, which already gained her ravished reviews.