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Turin toasts ‘evil’ helmer

Friedkin sez current 'Exorcist' in prod'n is 'pointless'

TURIN — Hollywood “evil” helmer William Friedkin and Italian horrormeister Dario Argento gushed copiously as they paid tribute to each other at the 21st Turin Film Festival where Friedkin was honored with a 30-title retro.

“Bill Friedkin is such a good friend of mine that some people say we have a homosexual relationship,” Argento said in introducing the 1971 “The French Connection,” and the man who made it, to a packed audience of fawning adolescent film buffs.

The Italian industrial capital — said to form a black magic triangle with London and San Francisco, and also known for conserving the cloth believed to have been wrapped around Christ’s dying body — was the perfect setting to celebrate Friedkin, who told fans the main themes of his pics are “the mystery of fate and the mystery of faith.”

“I would really love to make a movie here. This is an absolutely beautiful city, a very important city spiritually as well as architecturally,” Friedkin said. “But I would never do it, because Turin belongs to Dario Argento,” he added. The Turin-set “Deep Red” is perhaps Argento’s biggest cult hit.

Dubbed by the fest “the genius of American evil,” Friedkin slammed Castle Rock’s prequel of “The Exorcist” currently in production at Rome’s Cinecitta Studios.

“I don’t know why someone would do it. It’s pointless. The original ‘Exorcist’ said all you need to know about that story,” Friedkin complained. He added that his new passion is directing opera.

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