Taormina returns to summer slot

ROME — Following two years of canceled or vastly reduced editions due to budget headaches and bureaucratic hitches, the Taormina Intl. Film Festival moves back to its traditional slot this summer, running July 23-29 in the Sicilian resort town.

While fest director Enrico Ghezzi has not yet announced the competition lineup, features slated for their Italian premiere in Taormina’s open-air amphitheater, the Teatro Greco, include David Lynch’s “Lost Highway,” Jan De Bont’s “Speed 2: Cruise Control,” Johnny Depp’s “The Brave” and Kirby Dick’s documentary “Sick: The Life and Death of Bob Flanagan, Supermasochist.”

Shohei Imamura’s Cannes prize-winner, “The Eel,” will also screen, and Ghezzi is negotiating to secure the other Palme d’Or-winner, “The Taste of Cherries” by Abbas Kiarostami. Director Michael Cimino has been announced as president of the international competition jury.

The program will feature complete retrospectives of the work of Hungarian-born filmmaker-anthropologist Paul Fejos, including his U.S.-shot “Lonesome,” and of Russian director Aleksandr Dovzenko, as well as homages to American horror specialist Curtis Harrington, New York avant-garde exponent Ken Jacobs, Spain’s Victor Erice and Italian director Giuseppe De Santis, who died last month.

In memory of Taocinema collaborator Marco Melani, an annual award voted by Ghezzi and former colleagues of the late fest programmer will be introduced this year to honor a cutting-edge film or filmmaker. It will carry a prize of $30,000.

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