Quentin’s quip raises Italian ire

Bellocchio, Luchetti criticize 'Death' helmer

Maybe Quentin Tarantino should read “How to Win Friends and Influence People.”

Just as his “Death Proof” goes into release in Italy, snide comments he spouted on the current state of Italo cinema are drawing fusillades from the local film community.

“New Italian cinema is depressing,” lamented Tarantino to leading Italo TV publication Sorrisi e Canzoni TV.

“The recent films I have seen are all the same; they just talk about boys growing up, girls growing up, couples having a crisis and vacations for the mentally impaired,” he provocatively opined.

Mamma mia!

First to fire back was Italo auteur and Cannes jury member Marco Bellocchio, who called Tarantino a “brute.”

Helmer Daniele Luchetti — whose pic about two boys growing up, “My Brother Is an Only Child,” was Italy’s only Cannes entry (in Un Certain Regard) this year — was more diplomatic, calling Tarantino “incorrect.”

But La Repubblica took the gloves off and retaliated by noting that “Tarantino’s cinema is no longer that of ‘Pulp Fiction.’ ”

Be that as it may, the Italo films that have found favor at local wickets recently do somewhat substantiate Tarantino’s viewpoint: The top 2007 domestic grosser so far is saucy romancer “Love Manual 2” — all about couples overcoming impediments. Other Italo hits this year are coming-of-agers “I Want You” and “Night Before Exams — Today.”

And the biggest recent homegrown smash is comedy “Christmas in New York,” about a bunch of — well, brutes — on holiday in the Big Apple.

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