A film by

Hou Zuxin

Adapted from the original subject “Un amore a Roma”

by Alberto Simone

With Huang Yao, Liu Xun, Romano Reggiani,

with the special appareance of Fann Woon Fong,

and the collaboration of Antonino Cannavacciuolo

(Italy-China-Gemany-2021 – 94’)

The Italian Recipe
The Italian Recipe, international poster


HUANG Yao Mandy

LIU Xun Peng

FANN Woon Fong Mandy’Aunt

WU Yingzhe Pete

FU Mei Lisa

Romano REGGIANI Antonio

HU Haofan Qi

LIU Di Director Liu

LI Xiaochuan Mandy’s Uncle

Loger CHEN Wan



A movie by HOU Zuxin

Screenplay HOU Zuxin

Cristiano BORTONE

Alberto SIMONE


Cinematography Vladan RADOVIC (a.i.c.)

Editing WANG Yuye

YANG Wanqing

Production Design Tonino ZERA (a.s.c.),


Costume Design Sabrina BERETTA (a.s.c.)

MENG Luyue

Sound Engineer HUANG Xun


Casting LIU Sasa

Laura MUCCINO (u.i.c.d.)

Armando PIZZUTI (u.i.c.d.)

Produced by LU Hongtao

Cristiano BORTONE

Alberto SIMONE











With the support of REGIONE LAZIO




(POR FESR LAZIO 2104-2020)

Associate Producers ZHANG Rui,

TONG Elliot

Producers ZHANG Li


JIA Zhijie

Executive Producers Daniela PORTO



General Executive Producer ZHANG Chen


Peng, a Chinese pop music star, goes to Rome to shoot a reality show, in order to increase his popularity. He meets Mandy, a young Chinese girl busy doing several part-time jobs to make ends meet. She has lived in Rome with her uncles since the death of her mum. Although she studies hard to enter law school due to her family’s wish, she has a big secret dream: becoming a great chef like her hero, Antonino Cannavacciuolo. In the beginning the two of them hate each other: he thinks she is a nobody and she thinks he is just an arrogant star. But the circumstances force them to spend a night together. It is the beginning of a crazy and hilarious Roman adventure, featuring the Italy-Germany football final, the attempt to save a broken marriage and the suspicion that Peng has been kidnapped, which makes his country’s social media go wild, skyrocketing his popularity. A magical night that will change the lives of the two protagonists, making them fall in love and teaching them that the most important thing in life is to follow their dreams.


Throughout the whole process of writing the script, I kept asking myself, what is love? And what does it mean to me? There is a saying that you should always looking for your “significant half”, and then you will be complete. But, is that really true? I think instead of waiting for someone to complete us, a better love will be this awakening sound which makes us realize that we are worthy, and we could be the person we wanted but never dare to be. Just like the theme song I wrote for this film – you see my fragile and weakness, but you also give me strength and hope. So, let me take what you gave me, and when I come back to you, I’ll be ready.

Except for my two young Chinese protagonists, the beautiful Rome scenery, Italian style music and food all played key roles in the film. I feel so happy that I could shoot at so many magnificent locations of Rome, including the Colosseum, Castel Sant’Angelo, Piazza di Spagna, Santa Cecilia Conservatory and so on. And I also feel so proud that I could use in my film part of the score of “love theme”, the music composed by famous musician Ennio Morricone for Cinema Paradiso, and pay my tribute to this Italian legendary figure.

The Italian Recipe is a joint effort of both Italian and Chinese crew members. I really enjoyed the time shooting in Rome with my crew, sharing happiness and overcoming difficulties. I hope the film can bridge both Chinese and Italian audiences through the celebration of food, music, love, and the important things of life.

Foto di Hou Zuxin
Zuxin Hou, director and screenwriter of The Italian Recipe


The project originates from the workshop of the European Bridging the Dragon association which has been promoting collaboration opportunities with China in the audiovisual sector for years. The enthusiasm of the participants for Alberto Simone’s screenplay prompted us to develop it into a film designed for the general Chinese audience, which is still fascinated by classics such as Roman Holidays and the image of Italy and its extraordinary excellence. Therefore, in the film we had the chance to use iconic elements such as the Vespa, Italian cooking (embodied by chef Cannavacciuolo, of which the protagonist is an huge fan), the football victories against Germany, the Aperol Spritz with a view over the rooftops of Rome, the sunrise over the Roman Forum and glimpses of the most beautiful city in the world.

We made the film keeping in mind the needs of the Chinese market, which has now become the largest in the world with its 80,000 screens (double the number of US screens) and a great desire for stories and news.

This is the reason we are so proud of this official co-production between our two countries. Our fellow adventurers are Free Age Pictures, the sub-branch of Kaixin Mahua, one of China’s most famous comedy houses, with a long tradition of comedy actors, theatrical tours and blockbuster films with unimaginable results for us. Thanks to its distribution strength, the film will soon be released in China, in 9,000 copies.

The director we have involved is on her first feature film but with great experience in filmmaking. Her father is a famous rocker of the 80s and she was herself one of the finalists in the reality show “Voice of China”. Her documentaries have won awards at many international festivals and her music videos and commercials have had millions of clicks. Custom note: her mother was an assistant for the Fendi Maison for years and she passed down to her daughter a strong connection to our country.

The artistic team that we assembled to support her displays some of the finest Italian professionals in the field of photography, production design, costumes … So that this film could become an organic collaboration between our two worlds and we hope that its success will lead to other similar experiences in the future.

The Italian Recipe. Photo Credits © Francesca Fago



Zuxin Hou was born in Beijing and graduated at University of Southern California in Los Angeles, as a director and screenwriter she has an artistic personality that combines East and West. One of her documentaries, My Dad’s a Rocker, has won awards in more than twenty International Film Festivals, including IDA (International documentary award), WWF (Warsaw Film Festival), CAADF (Chinese Academy Award of Documentary Film). The trailer for her documentary “Rock On, 20.40.60” has more than 4.77 million views. She has also worked as a video clip director: her most famous collaboration was the one with singer Zhao Lei for the song “Cheng Du”, elected song of the year 2017. The video obtained 23.9 million views in just three months. Her spot for China Weather Chanel, “The Man in the Black Suit,” garnered 32.3 million views after just three days of being released online, making it a successful commercial model in 2018.

The Italian recipe” is her first fiction feature film


Award-winning author, director, film and television producer, Alberto Simone is a charismatic and eclectic figure for the quantity and quality of human, artistic and professional experiences. His first film “Moon Sahdow (Colpo di luna)” won the Special Mention of the Jury at the Berlin Film Festival, the Golden Globe of the Foreign Press in Italy, 2 Nominations for the David di Donatello, as well as awards and acknowledgments in festivals around the world. For Rai Fiction he conceived, directed and produced highly successful television projects. Those include the miniseries “Una storia qualunque”, the TV Movie “Un difetto di famiglia” and the TV series “Una famiglia in Giallo” and “Il Commissario Manara”.

As a writer he has published for Tea Edizioni the books “La felicità sul comodino”, “Ogni giorno un miracolo” and “L’arte di volerti bene”, a trilogy of essays dedicated to the themes of happiness and emotional well-being, with over 100,000 copies sold , numerous reprints and translations all over the world. “La felicità sul comodino” was translated into Chinese and distributed in China by the publisher Bejing Media Time.

He conceived the television series “Sins” just released in Canada for the national television TV5.

He is also a member of the Executive Council of the Federation of European Directors and of the Board of the National Association of 100 Authors.

“The Italian Recipe” was developed from the adaptation for the Chinese market of his original story, “Un amore a Roma”.


Winner of the David di Donatello as best cinematography for the film “Black Souls” and of numerous other awards. He worked with directors such as Paolo Virzì, Francesco Munzi, Marco Bellocchio.


Historical collaborator of Carmen Consoli, with whom he participates in numerous tours in Italy and abroad, he has played with Patti Smith, Angelique Kidjou, Max Gazzè, Tiromancino, Franco Battiato. In 2013 he began his career as a film composer with “The mafia kills only in summer” for which he received the David di Donatello nomination for Best Original Song. Since then, he has collaborated with numerous Italian directors such as Pif, Bortone, Gaudioso and Ribuoli in the realization of film and television projects.


Pluri-nominated for the David di Donatello, he is one of the most popular Italian set designers. He has worked with many internationally renowned directors such as Giuseppe Tornatore, Paolo Virzì, Spike Lee and Gabriele Muccino.


Graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Naples since the 2000s, Luca Servino has been the set designer of important productions with various directors, including Munzi, Rohrwacher, Marcello. In 2022 he was nominated for the David di Donatello for the best scenography in “Inner cage” by Leonardo di Costanzo.


Orisa Produzioni is the film and television production company of director / producer Cristiano Bortone.

Active since 1998, some of its films have been major commercial successes such as “ Wedding Fever in Campobello” (more than 1.5 million viewers in Germany) or “Marina” directed by Oscar nominee Stijn Coninx who joined the top ten receipts from the history of Belgian cinema. Other movies have won prizes at major international films such as Francesco Munzi’s “Saimir”, Special Mention at the Venice Film Festival or Bortone’s “Red like the sky”, David Giovani 2008. “Caffè”, also directed by Bortone, was the first official co-production between Italy and China.

The company is co-founder of the Sino-European producers association Bridging the dragon.


Dauphine Film Company is the film and television production company created by Alberto Simone and Roberta Manfredi. Since 1993 he has been producing cinema, fiction, documentaries and advertising.

After its film debut in 1995 with the film “Moon shadow” by Alberto Simone – Special Mention at the 45th Berlin Film Festival – they started a fruitful collaboration with Rai for which they created and produced highly successful TV movies, miniseries and television series .

Since 2020, the production activity has focused on the co-production of international projects. Those include the film for the Chinese market “The Italian Recipe”, the remake of the film “Un difetto di famiglia” for the US market and the Television Series for the Canadian market “Sins”.


Free Age Pictures is the sub-branch of Fan Age Pictures, aka Kaixin Mahua, one of China’s most famous comedy houses. It started as a theatre company and talent agency and has become a very successful brand over the years, expanding to most parts of the country. For several years now, Free Age Pictures and Kaixin Mahua have also established themselves in the film market. The first film produced in 2015, “Goodbye Mr. Loser”, grossed an astonishing € 180M and became a “case” in the Chinese film industry. This was followed by films such as “Never say die” (€ 327M) and “Hello, Mr. Billionaire” (€ 350M) which confirmed the company as one of the strongest companies in the Chinese market.

Press release from Echo Group

Dove i classici si incontrano. ClassiCult è una Testata Giornalistica registrata presso il Tribunale di Bari numero R.G. 5753/2018 – R.S. 17. Direttore Responsabile Domenico Saracino, Vice Direttrice Alessandra Randazzo. Gli articoli a nome di ClassiCult possono essere 1) articoli a più mani (in tal caso, i diversi autori sono indicati subito dopo il titolo); 2) comunicati stampa (in tal caso se ne indica provenienza e autore a fine articolo).

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