Starring: Tina Arena and Paul Mercurio
Director: Nick Conidi
Producer: Nick Conidi & Nathan Primmer
Running Time: 97 Minutes
In 1953, a heavily pregnant Rosalba Cavelli is found under duress, lying on the floor in her family pastry shop. As fate would have it she is found by Joe and Maria Prima, customers who quickly come to her aid and rush her to hospital. Just in time to give birth to a healthy baby girl, Angela.
Rosalba's husband, Sal, is eternally indebted to Joe and Maria, who become Angela's godparents. The Prima family is a well established and respected - albeit 'connected' family with long established mafia ties.
Both families become close friends. The Primas have two young boys, Robert and Tony. When five-year old Robert comforts newborn Angela, their fathers, inspired by the gesture, shake hands and decide to promise the children to each other in marriage.
Fast forward to 1974 - Angela, now 21 is beautiful, intelligent and a modern young lady, studying English literature at University, with aspirations beyond the family pastry shop; Robert, now 25, has just returned home after five years abroad, studying law at Oxford. His return reignites both family's passion to honour the 20 year old 'promise.'
Problem: Angela has a boyfriend, a dashing and charming young man named Tom. On learning about Tom, Sal convinces himself he is not suitable for his daughter and insists she marries Robert.
Robert goes along with the idea despite knowledge of Tom. This infuriates Angela who thinks Robert can't stand-up to his imposing father, shattering her romantic ideas of being swept away by the man of her dreams. Angela's fury quickly turns to fear for Tom's safety, at the hands of Robert's connected family and reluctantly agrees to marry him.
Once married, a considerate Robert begins to charm Angela. She also learns of Tom's hidden, imperfect past. Gradually, she begins to fall in love with Robert but on the eve of consummating the marriage events collide: secret lies, the return of Tom and the revelation that Robert is having an affair with his sultry secretary, create havoc and everything seems lost.
...And we learn - love like life is never perfectly arranged.
It was 1969, I was nine and I remember asking my father why he called his friend 'suppesseru,' an "in-law". I couldn't see the connection. He said, that he had 'promised' me to one of his daughters. My immediate reaction was not one of disbelief but bemusement, "my father always did have impeccable tastes."
At the time arranged marriages were not entirely uncommon in the Italian community. The opportunity to meet someone was limited by society and the times. Hence, unions were conceived and then arranged, "someone knew someone, that was suitable to someone."
However, by the early 70's with liberation and education, came the empowerment of women and social freedom. The need, hence, the art of arranging marriages was in decline. I had a window to both worlds. The generation before thought they knew what was best for their children - they had experience and wisdom. My generation rebelled against such traditional ideas - we were educated.
Promised is the story of one of "the last" arranged marriage during these changing times, between Robert and Angela - but Angela is in love with Tom. This film is a look at the tradition of arranging love, seeking love and finding love ... just not as planned.
The Graduate and The Godfather were my greatest influences - they explore many of the themes that have always fascinated me around the universal subjects of love, honour, duty and freedom.
A romantic with a deep respect for tradition, I was determined to make a film growing up in Australia during the 60's and 70's, from my experience and perspective.
After meeting Tony Ferreri - cinematographer and Nathan Primmer - producer, I was convinced I found my team. We clicked, shared a love of the story, cinema - more importantly Italian food, music and way of life. Together we made
The Promised journey is a very unique story in itself, following three years of script development, things moved seamlessly into production, however without the usual distribution arms in place.
With the inclusion of Tina Arena and Paul Mercurio, working with an upcoming talent pool there was no stopping this small passionate independent production. We were determined to finish the film to the highest standards, true to the script all on the available budget. The end result, a film that has gone beyond our expectations in every way.
Along the way we have also been blessed to have Dorian West join the team, award winning composer who has elevated the film score to new levels. In addition to the film score, Dorian has fully re-produced three classic tracks
including, Ave Maria, Guarda by the Rogers and Rose Rosse by Massimo Ranieri. Plans for these songs to hopefully feature in a soundtrack along with other classics tracks re-recorded by Tina Arena and Daryl Braithwaite.
We have been overwhelmed with the interest the story has generated. However not surprised how relatable the story is to many people - even beyond the Italian community. A story, we feel has been crafted, told in a very real way.
We welcome you to sit back, relax and experience a not so typical love story.
Nick Conidi & Nathan Primmer
In Cinemas 24 October