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Italy

Italo film buffs take note: Cinecitta will be auctioning parts of its 40-year history in mid- March. Topping the list of decorations and furnishings from celebrated interiors shot at Cinecitta is the 18th-century living room suite from Luchino Visconti’s “The Leopard.”

RAI sales arm Sacis sold homevideo rights to the fourth and fifth installments of “The Octopus” mini for China. The first episodes of the saga (starring Michele Placido) are airing on Chinese tv this season. Already famous in the Soviet Union (where “The Octopus” is one of the most popular tv programs), Placido looks set to become a celebrity in China as well.

Cameras are rolling on several Italian films. RAI-1 and Solaris Cinematografica are producing “Doris, A Star Of The Regime,” about fascist-era diva Doris Duranti. Elide Melli stars, flanked by Enrico Maria Salerno. Alfredo Giannetti is directing.

Television’s Luigi Perelli (“The Octopus”) is lensing his first feature, “Black Out,” in Rome and Salerno. Young thesps Kim Rossi Stuart and Simona Cavallari star with Ennio Fantastichi. Pic is produced by RCS Produzione, RAI-2 and Immaginazione.

Lensing of “On My Own,” an Italo-Canadian co-prod, got underway in Toronto on Feb. 18. Antonio Tibaldi is directing topliners Judy Davis and Matthew Ferguson. Pic is produced by Leo Pescarolo of Ellepi Film in association with Alliance Communication (Toronto), FCC (Sydney) and RAI-3.

Pupi Avati’s biopic of jazz trumpeter Bix Beiderbecke, “Bix,” has been chosen for competition at the Cannes Film Festival, according to Sacis general manager Gian Paolo Cresci.

Idrissa Ouedraogo’s “Tilai” (The Law) won first prize at the first African Film Festival in Milan. Film won the special jury prize at Cannes last May. Festgoers picked “Layla, ma raison,” by Taieb Louhichi (Tunisia), as their favorite film.

The cities of Garda and Bardolino are launching their first film fest June 20 to 27. Festival will host a retro dedicated to Lillian Gish and D.W. Griffith. Program includes sidebars for children’s films, Italian preems and love stories of the 1930s. Organizers say they want to bring cinema to a region where few hardtops remain in operation.

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