Legendary actress Sophia Loren is back on screen after almost a decade in the movie The Life Ahead (La vita davanti a sé), directed by her own son, Edoardo Ponti. The movie is a remake of the 1977 French film Madame Rosa, which was adapted from the novel The Life Before Us by Romain Gary.
Sophia’s performance is already garnering Oscar buzz and if she’s nominated, she would be the Academy’s oldest Best Actress nominee, at 86.
With its strong performances from Sophia Loren and her young co-star, newcomer Ibrahima Gueye, the movie has been updated from its Madame Rosa source material.
For one, director Edoardo Ponti has shifted the setting from Paris to modern-day Bari, creating a completely different tone for the film from its predecessor. But with all its beautiful backdrops, audiences are wondering where The Life Ahead was filmed.
Where was 'The Life Ahead' filmed?
In The Life Ahead, Italian beauty Sophia Loren plays Madame Rosa, a Holocaust survivor living in the colorful port city of Bari, the capital of the Apulia region in the heel of the Italian boot. Madame Rosa is a former sex worker who now takes care of the children of other women in the profession. Soon, she comes across Momo (Ibrahima Gueye), a child of Senegalese immigrants.
Within the first minutes of meeting her, Momo tries to rob Madame Rosa, which starts off the antagonistic relationship between the two. But as the film progresses, Madame Rosa and Momo slowly develop a deeper connection, forming a close bond as well as a new, unconventional family unit.
The Life Ahead is set in Bari, Italy and most of the scenes of the movie were shot there. The stunning backdrop of this ancient city served as the perfect location for The Life Ahead and has also served as a filming spot for other big budget movies like Wonder Woman, Pinocchio, and The Binding.
The house of Madame Rosa was shot on-location, close to Bari’s central train station. This location was ideal for the film since it was right opposite a piazza, which served as the location of the flea market where Momo first robs Madame Rosa. Hamil (Babak Karimi)’s antique shop is also located in Bari, but it's in the heart of the old city, known as Bari Vecchia.
Sophia Loren returns to the big screen after a 10-year hiatus.
The Life Ahead marks Sophia Loren’s return to movies after a decade-long gap. In 2009, the actress starred in Rob Marshall's Nine, which was based on Federico Fellini's semi-autobiographical 8½. Sophia also provided the Italian dub of Mama Topolino in Cars 2.
Sophia’s come full circle with her role in The Life Ahead and the Oscar buzz it’s generating. The last time she won an Academy Award was for her role in 1961’s Two Women, directed by her late husband, Edoardo’s father, Carlo Ponti. She’s said that while she has been on a bit of an acting hiatus, it wasn’t a planned break.
“It just happened,” she says. “I wanted to be inspired and challenged. I didn't know any films that I wanted to do right away.” Thankfully, the actress found a project worth pursuing with The Life Ahead. “It’s difficult to find good stories, but sometimes I fall in love with the right ones. I intend to make movies forever.”
Stream The Life Ahead on Netflix.