Festival pulls controversial jail movie

A film featuring Seattle student and murder suspect Amanda Knox reciting Shakespeare in the Italian jail where she is awaiting trial is sparking a furor and an international media feeding frenzy.

Knox, charged with the 2007 murder of British exchange student Meredith Kercher, appears in “L’ultima citta” (The Last City), described by helmer Claudio Carini as a nonlinear film about 12 female inmates who take a fantasy journey through seven imaginary cities.

The 55-minute film in which Knox performs the “To be, or not to be” speech from “Hamlet,” was shot as part of a cultural re-education program in the Capanne jail, where she has been held for more than a year. The jail is near Perugia, the central Italian university town where the murder took place. The trial is expected to start in January. Knox denies wrongdoing.

“The Last City” had been scheduled to unspool at Perugia’s Batik Film Festival, which kicked off on Wednesday, where guests this year include Gallic auteur Philippe Garrel presenting his latest drama, “Regular Lovers.”

As a flurry of offers poured in from international media outlets eager to buy footage of Knox in the pic, protests mounted from Italo pols. The fest rapidly pulled the pic, and regional authorities that funded the film reportedly nixed sales.

Complaints ranged from right-wingers, who likened the jail to “a holiday camp” (as conservative pol Maurizio Ronconi put it) to others who objected that Knox was being exploited.

Her case was featured this month Stateside on “Dateline NBC.”

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