The International Circulation of ‘Saturno Contro’

On May 2017, Variety’s international correspondent Nick Vivarelli argued that a renaissance of Italian cinema was taking place, where more pragmatic productions seem to have paid off at the domestic box office: “After decades of disaffection, Italo audiences are sparking to homegrown movies again in numbers unseen since the glory days of Fellini and Antonioni. The box office is up 23% year-on-year for the first quarter, driven by local titles accounting for a boffo 43% of the market.” One of the movies involved in this success is Ferzan Özpetek’s Saturno Contro.

Produced by R&C Produzioni, Faros Film, Turkish AFS Film, French UGC-YM, with the support of the Eurimages fund, and distributed in Italy by Medusa Film, in the domestic market Saturno Contro immediately benefitted from the directors’ popularity, thanks to previous works such as Le fate ignoranti (His Secret Life, 2001) and La finestra di fronte (Facing Window, 2003). In Italy, Saturno Contro ranked 19th in the general top 100 of 2007, and 6th in the top 10 Italian films, grossing €7.740.124/$6.838.400 over 430 screens. As a testament to the ongoing relevance of the movie, it is now available on SVOD on Mediaset’s Infinity and Tim Vision, as well as on rent/buy on Google Play and Rakuten TV.

Despite this national success, Saturno Contro did not gain a significant distribution outside Italy: circulation was mainly limited to the niche festival circuit, and data about its box office are scattered or entirely lacking.

As for festivals, the movie was screened in 2007 at the Italian Film Festival of Tokyo, the New Zealand Italian Film Festival, the Festival Internacional del Nuevo Cine Latinoamericano (for the Muestra del cine italiano), the CPH PIX – Buster: Via Italia (Copenhagen, Denmark), the Festival Internacional del Nuevo Cine Latinoamericano: Muestra de Cine Italiano (Havana, Cuba), the Istanbul Film Festival (opening feature), the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival 2007 (Czech Republic), the MittelCinemaFest 2007 (Budapest, Bratislava, Praga, Brno, Ostrava) and the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival. In 2008, it was showcased at Kinomania (Bulgaria).

 ReleaseScreensWeeksFirst Weekend ($)Box Office ($)Admissions
Italy23 February 2007430//6.838.4001.321.805
CH5 April 2007///146.97610.048
FR9 July 2008////5.682
Italy (Adm).: LumièrePro
Italy (B.O. and screens): IMDb, ScreenDaily
Switzerland (B.O., Adm.): Procinema
France Admissions: CNC


In Switzerland, Saturno Contro was distributed by Filmcoopi Zürich, the independent production and distribution company specialized in arthouse films, from 5 April 2007. From a total of 10.048 admissions, it ultimately grossed 146.976$ (143.151CHF). Today, it is not available in any online platforms.


Small festivals were a springboard for Saturno Contro’s circulation in France. Prior to its official distribution, it was presented at the 2007 Festival du Film Italien de Villerupt (where it won the Press Award) and at the 2008 Festival du Cinéma Italien de Bastia. It was then released on 9 July 2008 by UGC Distribution, but gained only 5.682 admissions. No other official data is available.

Interestingly, Saturno Contro is now available in France only thanks to Pantaflix, the Berlin-based streaming platform that has been described as Germany’s answer to Netflix. On Pantaflix, users pay for each film individually and the price is set by the film’s producer. Filmmakers, in turn, receive 75% and the portal gets a commission of 25%. On the platform, Saturno Contro costs 2,99€.

 Box Office ($)AdmissionsOTT-SVODOTT-Rent/Buy
Infinity, Tim Vision
GooglePlay, Rakuten TV
Data at 5 June 2019

United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, Saturno Contro gained some visibility from a handful of minor festivals, but never succeeded in obtaining a proper distribution. It was screened at the 2007 BFI London Film Festival, the 2007 Italian Film Festival in Scotland and the 2008 Dublin International Film Festival. In 2008, it was also picked up again by the BFI for the BFI Flare: London LGBT Film 2008, where it was screened in the retrospective Recasting Gender: Reflections on Transgender Representation.


As in the UK, Saturno Contro circulated in the US only within some minor festivals. It had its United States première at the Frameline Festival in San Francisco on 20 June 2008. It then moved to the Atlanta Film Festival, the Cinema Italy – Miami/Atlanta/San Juan Film Festival, the Open Roads: New Italian Cinema, the Palm Springs International Film Festival and Seattle International Film Festival. In its post-theatrical afterlife, it is available at present to rent/buy only on Amazon.