Italian erotic flick wins top prizes at Rome film festival as audience boos
Italian erotic film “And They Call it Summer” which was booed during its screening at the Rome Film Festival, scooped two prizes at the awards ceremony on Saturday to catcalls from the audience.
Italy’s Paolo Franchi won the best director prize for his steamy tale of a man unable to have sex with the woman he loves but who harbours a passion for prostitutes which strains the couple’s relationship to breaking point.
“It is brave filmmaking, obsessive filmmaking, uncompromising. It will be hated and loved,” said Australian director P.J. Hogan, a member of the international jury at the seventh edition of the festival.
“This film angered many of us and it angered you. Many of you yelled at the screen during it, but many others stood up and applauded at the end.”
“Good or bad, this film got under your skin,” he said.
Best actress went to Isabella Ferrari, who was heckled with cries of “shame!” when she collected her award for her role in “E la chiamano estate.”
With tears in her eyes, she thanked the jury for supporting “a daring work,” heralded by supporters as the Italian version of the critically acclaimed 2011 film “Shame” about a sex addict.
American cult director Larry Clark’s “Marfa Girl” won the top prize.
Clark’s latest tale of adolescent passions, sex, drugs after “Kids” and “Ken Park” beat 14 other international films in competition to snap up the Marc Aurelio prize, awarded by a jury led by American movie director Jeff Nichols.
The best actor award went to French actor Jeremie Elkaim for “Hand in the Hand” (Main dans la main), a poetic comedy on love by Valerie Donzelli, whose 2011 “Declaration of War” (La Guerre est declaree) did very well in France.
Special jury prize went to Claudio Giovannesi’s “Ali has blue eyes,” a week in the life of an Egyptian teenager, born in Italy, who struggles to navigate between his Italian social life and the demands of his Muslim parents.
“I hope the Italian government will change the law to give children born in Italy to foreign parents Italian citizenship,” an emotional Giovannesi said.
For the first time, the festival was directed by former Venice Film Festival head Marco Muller, who has been criticised for not attracting Hollywood stars.
The ceremony wound up a festival which prided itself on the number of world premieres — 59 plus five international premieres — and giving emerging filmmakers a voice, but failed in terms of red carpet glamour.
Muller had previously denied claims the lack of blockbusters had hurt ticket sales, which were down 15 percent on last year.
While Hollywood Veteran Sylvestor Stallone was present to unveil his latest buddy action flick, many other stars who had been down to come failed to show.
Muller’s early hints that cult director Quentin Tarantino would turn up as a surprise with his latest film “Django Unchained” came to nothing, and he hotly refuted reports that he would be stepping down as head of the festival.