Turin,1969. Nine-year-old Massimo’s idyllic childhood is shattered by the mysterious death of his mother. The young boy refuses to accept this brutal loss, even if the priest says she is now in Heaven. Years later in the 90s, adult Massimo has become an accomplished journalist. After reporting on the war in Sarajevo, he begins to suffer from panic attacks. As he prepares to sell his parents’ apartment, Massimo is forced to relive his traumatic past. Compassionate doctor Elisa could help tormented Massimo open up and confront his childhood wounds…


The film ‘Sweet Dreams’ was born from Massimo Gramellini‘s novel “Fai Bei Sogni”, which was one of Italy‘s biggest publishing successes of recent years (and much deserved because of the details and emotions that the book describes). But I was not won over to make this film simply because it was a best-seller. It was because of the book‘s themes, the dramatic situations… A mother‘s death. Losing a mother while still a child. Nine-year-old Massimo‘s pain over losing his beloved mother – love felt twice as strong because the boy feels it is reciprocated, absolute and exclusive.Young Massimo rebels against this unjust tragedy, then, over time, his adjustment to survive this incomprehensible loss. Adapting to life that has a heavy cost for Massimo because he has become more sombre, beaten, due to a need to defend himself to survive. The toll is taken on his ability to love, left cold and empty over the years of his adolescence and into his adult life. Complex circumstances and random casual relationships do not allow Massimo‘s armor of indifference to break down.Massimo, a grown man and already an established journalist, “wakes up” one day and must confront the roots of his pain. We could speak of “healing” but I rather more prudently speak of the concrete principle of change. This story struck me hard, deeply, because I saw many themes that I have often faced in my films. Family, mothers, fathers, the home in various time periods over at least 30 years, over a time of radical change in Italy. The changes in Italy are literally seen from the windows of his home… Rome, Sarajevo, Turin – seen and experienced by an accomplished journalist. Working for a major national daily newspaper, Massimo is a chronicler of reality, a detached witness. Maybe he longs to become a somewhat more compassionate participant in the world‘s events…

Marco Bellocchio


Valerio Mastandrea Massimo

Bérénice Bejo Elisa

Guido Caprino Massimo’s father

Nicolò Cabras Massimo as a child

Dario Delpero Massimo teenager

Barbara Ronchi Massimo’s mother

With Miriam Leone, Arianna Scommegna, Bruno Torrisi, Manuela Mandracchia, Giulio Brogi, Roberto Di Francesco, Dylan Ferrario, Pier Giorgio Bellocchio

with the participation of Emanuelle Devos and Fausto Russo Alesi as Simone

with the friendly participation of Piera Degli Esposti and Roberto Herlitzka

with the participation of Fabrizio Gifuni


directed by Marco Bellocchio

screenplay Valia Santella, Edoardo Albinati, Marco Bellocchio

based on Massimo Gramellini “Fai Bei Sogni” edited by Longanesi & C

a production IBC MOVIE and KAVAC FILM with RAI CINEMA in co-production with AD VITAM

produced by Beppe Caschetto

project development Anastasia Michelagnoli

executive producer Simone Gattoni

editor Francesca Calvelli

director of photography Daniele Ciprì

original music Carlo Crivelli

scenography Marco Dentici

costumes Daria Calvelli

sound Gaetano Carito



length 134 min

original language Italiano

international sales The Match Factory

Italian sales 01 Distribution