Rival Italian Film Festivals Create a Feud Worthy of 'The Godfather'
Clarke, Roger, The Independent (London, England)
The Italian press are calling it war. This week, the Venice and Rome film festivals are at loggerheads after months of thin smiles, diplomatic gestures and public displays of warmth and unity.
As if channelling past feuds, the festival chiefs (former colleagues) are at each other's throats. The respective city mayors are weighing in. And even the Italian government found itself obliged to intervene on the day that the 63rd Venice Film Festival opened for a world premiere of Black Dahlia, starring Scarlett Johansson.
This time last year, the two festivals were sufficiently in step for Venice to allow Rome to make its founding announcement on its patch on the Lido. After 62 years unchallenged as the premiere film festival of Italy, everyone was surprised by the laid-back attitude, but it was also clear to industry observers that the Venice Film Festival required serious work on its crumbling infrastructure, and that this required a certain amount of ingratiation with central government and a minister determined to set up the Roman festival.
This week all that changed and it became painfully obvious that everything had broken down behind the scenes.
The Venice director Marco Mller launched a stinging attack during a TV interview on the very essence of the Rome festival and proceeded to rubbish its selection of films. In response, RomaFilmFest immediately condemned his comments as offensive.
The famously pugnacious Mr Mller claims RomaFilmFest broke a gentleman's agreement by releasing details of its inaugural line-up just before the Venice festival opened. The highlights in Rome include Nicole Kidman attending the European premiere of her much- anticipated Diane Arbus biopicFur, on 13 October. …