Film community piqued by pic's Acad exclusion

Following the Academy’s rejection of “Private” on grounds that the pic is not “predominantly” in Italian, Italo industryites are clamoring for AMPAS to modify its submission rules regarding foreign-language films for Oscar consideration.

Directed by Italo helmer Saverio Costanzo, the drama, in Arabic, Hebrew and English, concerns a Palestinian family’s plight in the occupied territories. It was deemed ineligible last week by the Acad, which gave Italy the option to make another submission.

Among many in Italy’s film community piqued by pic’s exclusion are the producer and helmer of what looked like “Private’s” most likely replacement as an Oscar candidate, “Manual of Love.” The hit comedy was the runner-up in the local selection committee’s vote.

“Manual” producer Aurelio De Laurentiis has decided to pull the pic from the race in protest after writing a letter urging the Academy to reconsider its exclusion of “Private.”

“It’s absurd,” De Laurentiis lamented to Daily Variety. “These rules are inadequate. Language no longer necessarily characterizes a national cinematography.

“Transformations in the global film industry, and in the world in general, have to be considered,” he declared.

“Private” producer Luciano Sovena has been citing Gillo Pontecorvo’s “The Battle of Algiers,” which is in French, English and Arabic, as an example of the Academy’s wrong-headedness. That pic was nominated in the foreign-language film category in 1967.

Academy rules regarding eligibility of foreign-language films have come under fire before, most recently in 2004, with Spanish-language pic “The Motorcycle Diaries,” by Brazilian helmer Walter Salles.

Italy’s motion picture association, Anica, will announce Friday whether it will select another candidate to replace “Private.”

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