The First King: Birth of an Empire (Il primo re)


Vogue Theatre Sat, Nov 23, 2019 8:30 PM
Film Info
Running Time:127 min.
Language:Latin with English subtitles
Director:Matteo Rovere
Rai Cinema
Screenwriter:Filippo Gravino
Francesca Manieri
Matteo Rovere
Cinematographer:Daniele Ciprì
Editor:Gianni Vezzosi
Music:Andrea Farri
Cast:Alessandro Borghi
Alessio Lapice


In this swashbuckling epic, Matteo Rovere tells the mythic story of twin shepherd brothers, Romulus and Remus, one of whom will found the Roman empire. In 800 B.C., a prophecy foretells that one of the brothers—who are both hardened by the elements and suckled by a she-wolf—will build a world-spanning empire, but the other will die at his brother’s hand. In this swordfight drama (featuring dialogue in a painstakingly researched, authentic archaic Latin), love, ambition and fratricide coalesce in a searing story about the most tragic of sacrifices, from which Rome will rise.

Co-presented by Department of Italian Studies University of California, Berkeley and Humanities West.

Additional Information

Matteo Rovere (born 22 January 1982) is an Italian director, screenwriter and producer. He's the youngest Italian filmmaker to have won the Nastro D’Argento Award for best producer, with his film I Can Quit Whenever I Want. Born in Rome, Matteo Rovere started directing short films at a very young age, and his shorts have screened at over 140 festivals. In 2002 he won the Kodak Award at Linea d'Ombra Salerno Film Festival with his first short-film: Lexotan. In the following years he produced short-films Unconventional Toys and Sulla riva del lago, both made in 2004. In 2007, his short film Homo Homini Lupus won the Nastro D’Argento for best short film. In 2009 he made his feature film debut with the coming of age drama A Game for Girls, which screened in competition at the 2008 Rome International Film Festival. His debuts as film producer for the documentary about the Genoese film director Pietro Germi, Pietro Germi - il bravo, il bello, il cattivo, was presented at the 62° Cannes Film Festival. In 2012, his second feature film as director, Drifters—adapted from the the Sandro Veronesi novel of the same name and interpreted by Andrea Bosca, Miriam Giovanelli, Claudio Santamaria, Michele Riondino and Massimo Popolizio—debuted in theaters.The Drifters was presented in London as in the British Film Institute Festival. In 2014, he produced Sydney Sibilia's I Can Quit Whenever I Want, a film that makes more than 5 million euros at the box office, and garnered 12 nominations for the David di Donatello and 5 nominations for Nastro D’Argento. In 2016. he wrote, directed and produced his third film Italian Race, starring Stefano Accorsi and Matilda De Angelis. It became one of the most successful box office hits in Italy and was well received both by critics. The film won best cinematography, best editing, best sound editing, best make-up artist and best musical effects at the 2017 David di Donatello's awards and one Nastro D’Argento for best film editing. That year he also produced two sequels of I Can Quit Whenever I Want. In 2019 he directed the historical drama The First King: Birth of an Empire (Il primo re), starring Alessandro Borghi and Alessio Lapice. The film was nominated for eight Nastro D’Argento awards such as Best Film and Best Director.