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Once Upon a Time... in Bethlehem

The new comedy from comic duo Salvatore Ficarra and Valentino Picone (It’s the Law IFF17), Once Upon a Bethlehem is a hilarious twist on the well-known story of the nativity, starring both directors in the lead roles.

Ficarra is Salvo, a convinced atheist from Palermo and a thief of religious art pieces, while Picone co-stars as Father Valentino from Roccadimezzo Sicula, a priest fascinated by the iconic power of the nativity scene. Their two worlds collide on the eve of the Christmas holidays when, due to unknown magical forces, both find themselves transported across space and time to a real-life nativity scene: it’s Palestine in the year zero, only days before the birth of Jesus Christ...

Their fantastic journey together to a faraway world brings the pair to rediscover themselves and find courage in the face of great danger. Tasked with saving baby Jesus from the threat of King Herod (Massimo Popolizio, The Champion IFF19), who is incensed by the news of the birth of the King of Kings, will Salvo and Father Valentino risk their own lives to succeed?

Over 2 Million admissions at the Italian box office.
David of the Audience, David di Donatello Awards 2020
Australian Premiere
Comedy | Italy | 2019 | 105 min
Italian with English subtitles
Salvatore Ficarra and Valentino Picone
Salvatore Ficarra, Valentino Picone, Massimo Popolizio, Roberta Mattei


Salvatore Ficarra and Valentino Picone headshots

Salvatore Ficarra and Valentino Picone

Salvatore Ficarra and Valentino Picone started out in 1993 as a comedy trio with Salvatore Borrello, performing together on stage as Chiamata Urbana Urgente. In 1998, after Borrello’s departure, the pair began to use their surnames: Ficarra & Picone. In 2000 they made Chiedimi se sono felice and two years later they made their acting debut in Natistanchi. Their previous film It’s the Law (L'ora legale) was a crowd favourite of the 2017 Italian Film Festival.