Imprisoned star of ‘Reality’ impresses at Cannes

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CANNES, France (AP) — The breakout performance of the Cannes Film Festival so far is Aniello Arena’s turn as a Naples fishmonger who becomes obsessed with appearing on a “Big Brother”-style TV show in “Reality.”

But Arena won’t be walking the red carpet at the Italian movie’s gala premiere Friday. He’ll be where he’s been for two decades — in prison.

Arena was riveting in the film by “Gomorrah” director Matteo Garrone, and many viewers were astonished to learn he works with a prison theater company but had never appeared in a movie. Garrone said a judge let Arena out of jail during the day to shoot “Reality” but wouldn’t let him travel to Cannes, which is in neighboring France.

Garrone said Arena was happy about the movie’s success anyway.