“Cinema Paradiso,” winner of last year’s foreign-language-film Oscar, has been singled out for the same honor at the upcoming NATO/Showest convention at Bally’s in Las Vegas.

Reflecting the increasing international reach of the National Assn. of Theater Owners, it will be the first time mainstream U.S. exhibition has given an award to the foreign film of the year.

No such honor was accorded at previous NATO conventions, when they were held on their own, or at Showest before or since it linked up with NATO.

The picture was released domestically by Miramax. The NATO/Showest best foreign film of the year award will be given out annually henceforth.

Domestic boxoffice in excess of $11.3 million in 1990 made the Italian-French co-production the seventh top-grossing non-English-language film ever shown in the U.S. Miramax opened the picture at arthouses and platformed it to mainstream and suburban venues.

Miramax co-chairmen Robert and Harvey Weinstein will collect the accolade on behalf of “Cinema Paradiso” at the closing of the NATO/Showest awards banquet at Bally’s in Las Vegas Feb. 7.

The picture, a celebration of the impact of motion pictures on community life, shows the 20-year interrelationship of a small-town Italian theater and the residents of the area. It was directed by Giuseppe Tornatore.

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