×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

U.S. pix help revive Italy’s Taormina fest

Director looks to an English-only program

ROME — With crowds of close to 6,000 people packing screenings of “The Mummy” and “The Thirteenth Floor” during the final nights, the Taormina film fest wrapped a turning-point edition Saturday that saw the return of mass audiences for the first time in many years.

Attempting to resurrect some of the excitement that characterized the Sicilian resort-town event during its 1960s heyday, new fest topper Felice Laudadio plugged main venue the Teatro Greco — a magnificent Greco-Roman amphitheater used for open-air evening screenings — with local premieres of studio crowdpleasers.

Restoring luster

Showings of films like “Notting Hill,” “Go” and Brit pic “Human Traffic” were stymied by bad weather and forced indoors. But these and other key titles helped revive public interest that had been in decline in recent editions, when Laudadio’s predecessor, Enrico Ghezzi, showcased more specialized, esoteric fare.

Representatives of Taormina Arte, the financing and organizing committee behind the town’s trio of film, music and theater fests, and mayor Mario Bolognari expressed satisfaction with the return of sizable audiences to the event.

In a bid to distinguish the Taormina Intl. Film Festival from the throng of other late-summer fests that includes Venice, Locarno, Montreal and San Sebastian, Laudadio has proposed transforming it into a specialized event to be subtitled “Made in English.”

While the changes have yet to receive final approval, the fest topper has announced his intention to move the event forward next year to July 8-15 and to program exclusively English-lingo films, primarily from the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

‘Little Brothers’ best

This year’s international competition jury headed by Italo helmer Paolo Virzi awarded the Golden Cariddi prize for best film to French director Jacques Doillon for “Little Brothers,” which also landed the Fipresci international critics award and the Franco Cristaldi Prize for producer Marin Karmitz.

A special jury prize went to Russian director Valery Priemykhov for “Who Else If Not Us.” Edward Norton was named best actor for “American History X,” Niki Karimi took best actress for Iranian feature “Two Women” and the Silver Cariddi went to Macedonian feature “The Past,” by Ivo Trajkov.

A special mention was given to cinematographer Mary Farbrother for her work on Simon Beaufoy’s “The Darkest Light.”

More Film

  • Invisible Life Brazilian Cinema

    Karim Ainouz on Cannes Un Certain Regard's ‘The Invisible Life’

    CANNES  —  Karim Aïnouz’s “The Invisible Life” begins with two  sisters, not much over 20, Eurídice (Carol Duarte) and Guida (Julia Stockler) sitting by the shore of one of the multiple bays around Rio de Janeiro, a lush tropical forest behind. They have all their life in front of them. Guida suddenly dashes off clambering [...]

  • Cannes: Neon, Hulu Acquire 'Portrait of

    Cannes: Neon, Hulu Acquire Celine Sciamma’s 'Portrait of a Lady on Fire'

    Neon and Hulu have acquired North American rights to Céline Sciamma’s love story “Portrait of a Lady on Fire,” which premiered in competition at Cannes. Neon is planning a theatrical release for the film this year, which will include an awards campaign in all categories. The film is set in Brittany, France in 1770. Marianne [...]

  • Brightburn review

    Film Review: 'Brightburn'

    “Superman” meets “The Omen” in “Brightburn,” a watchable but super-silly mix of superheroics and evil-child horror that mashes together singularly uninspired ideas from both. Offering R-rated fantasy competition to “Aladdin” this Memorial Day weekend, it should do OK with undiscriminating audiences seeking familiar, forgettable genre thrills. But the franchise prayers that an open-ended fadeout dangles [...]

  • Aladdin

    Film Review: Will Smith in 'Aladdin'

    Of all the characters in Walt Disney Studios’ canon, is there any more animated than the Genie from “Aladdin”? In 1992, old-school cartooning seemed the only way to keep up with comedian Robin Williams’ rapid-fire sense of humor and free-associative gift for improvisation. Much of the appeal of the original “Aladdin” came thanks to the [...]

  • Cannes: European Auteurs Launch Appeal to

    Cannes: European Auteurs Launch Appeal to Get E.U. Elections Vote Out

    A group of 500 prominent European auteurs – including heavyweights attending Cannes such as Céline Sciamma, Pawel Pawlikowski, and Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne – have launched an impassioned appeal to citizens of the 28 European Union nations to get out the vote at the upcoming May 23-26 E.U. parliamentary elections. “It is true, Europe is hardly [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content