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Articles by: Alice Bonvicini

  • Dining in & out: Articles & Reviews

    The Vinitaly World Tour takes over Eataly

    Try to imagine the biggest food emporium in New York and add to its busy Monday afternoon rush the world's biggest wine showcase. This was the exciting challenge that Eataly and Vinitaly tried to pull off in New York. In an effort to bring Italian wines outside the border of the Bel Paese, Vinitaly, the world's largest wine show, held every Spring in Verona, created the Vinitaly World Tour. At its 12th edition, the itinerant event is committed to showcase Italian wines around the globe, and on Monday, October 25, the newly opened Eataly became the stage for its massive sampling.
    Up until now, however, tickets to Vinitaly World Tour had only been available to food industry insiders and members of the press, but this year’s event was open to the public. In addition to that, the expo ran during Eataly regular store hours. “It is quite an unprecedented challenge, and we are very excited to be part of it” said Nicola Marinetti, store manager of the gourmet paradise. “It is truly an unparalleled event; six hundred paying visitors are about to enter the store,” added Stevie Kim, Senior Advisor to the CEO of Veronafiere, Giovanni Mantovani. “But we are well prepared,” she reassured us “we have all the volunteers of the American cancer Society helping us out.” And, in fact, the excitement for the wine expo was augmented by the fact that 100% of the $55 ticket was destined to charity. The Italian food industry has always been about healthy products and, in tune with this commitment to quality and health, all proceeds from the consumer Vinitaly World Tour event were donated to the American Cancer Society.
     

     Among the 200 wines available for tasting we found labels that are well established within the US market, such as Zonini, Masi or Arnaldo Caprai, whose representative Ciro Pirone underlined the exhilaration for such a dynamic event. But quality doesn't necessarily mean a long-term presence in the US. At the wine tasting we found etichette that have just arrived to the American market but promise to leave a mark here, such as Mazziotti from northern Lazio, which is bringing to this side of the Atlantic a half liter bottle called "Solo per Due." Together with wine we also found a selection of prime extra virgin olive oils, defined by Michele Bungaro from Unaprol (Consorzio Olivicolo Italiano) as a paramount symbol of culinary made in Italy “after all Italian immigrants could replicate wine everywhere they went but they could not transport olive trees, hence they had to bring it from Italy.” He also articulated the concept that American consumers are becoming not only more and more interested in Italian products, but are also becoming more knowledgeable. And the buzz last Monday at Eataly for Vinitaly confirms it. It was a hectic night there, and despite the long line outside the store and the crowded aisles, judging by the smiles of the attendees, it was probably a fun one too.

  • Events: Reports

    CALIBRO 35 at the CMJ Music Marathon & Film Festival


    It's that time of the year again. CMJ Music Marathon & Film Festival opens its 30th edition. 

    From October 19th to 23rd, thousands of established and promising new artists will be performing in venues across Manhattan and Brooklyn. And although the New York Times ironically suggests alternative ways to manage the event- its numbers can definitely be scary to novel attendees - CMJ is a great opportunity to see talented indie bands. Among the hot line up we find Milanese CALIBRO 35, the indie jam band performing golden age soundtracks and original compositions.



    "l'Appuntamento" CALIBRO 35


    On October 21st, Massimo Martellotta (guitars), Enrico Gabrielli (keyboard, flute, sax), Fabio Rondanini (drums), Luca Cavina (bass) and Tommaso Colliva (sounds and research) will be performing at Nublu, the popular club in Alphabet City. 
     
    The name of the band gives away its inspirational springboard. CALIBRO 35, in fact, immerse themselves in a specific aesthetic: the music of the Italian cinema of the 1960s and '70s. The soundtracks of bloody giallo slasher flicks and car chase-filled ”tough cop” films are covered and evoked in their original pieces.
     

    Together with the Nublu gig, organized by Mark Gartenberg Concert, American fans have a chance to sample their recreations of Italian soundtracks and original works on CALIBRO 35's US debut album “Ritornano Quelli Di.... Calibro 35” or “The Return of... Calibro 35.” The album, which includes original artwork by Giuliano Nistri, the renowned painter who created many original film posters from the 1960s and '70s, including “La Notte,” features eight original compositions as well as recreations of well known works of Italian film composers Ennio Morricone, Gianni Ferrio, Ritz Ortonali and Piero Umiliani.

     
    The Festival, which showcases the best of what's to come in music, in the past has been very auspicious to a number of successful acts. Likely the hectic five days of listening and club-hopping will be fruitful for CALIBRO 35, as well.
     

     
     "Tutta Donna" CALIBRO 35
     


  • Life & People

    Italian Top Chefs Take Over Eataly

    Just when you thought Eataly couldn't possibly generate any more excitement, there is yet another reason to stop by the corner of Fifth Avenue and Broadway- at 23rd St: Identità New York.  A series of cooking classes offered at Eataly from October 12th to 14th by 11 Italian Master Chefs.  And each restaurant will offer 2 special dishes by two of these acclaimed Italian chefs in addition to the regular menu offerings.

    Nicola Farinetti, the youngest son of Eataly's founder Oscar Farinetti and store manager of the hottest food retailer in New York, explained the format to us after a long interview a few days ago and made us curious.

    The culinary masters will showcase their talents and signature dishes, preparing and serving their creations in an effort to familiarize customers with the diversity of Italian cuisine. 

    The event will wrap up with an epic dinner at Manzo Ristorante hosted by Mario Batali and Joe and Lidia Bastianich.
     

     
    The participating Chefs are:
     


    Ugo Alciati
    , of the Michelin-starred Guido restaurant in Pollenzo (CN), is a living legend in Italian food. Son of Guido, he inherited from his father the philosophy of fusing quality, and simplicity. They are best known for the magic they work with veal and the restaurant is part of the Pollenzo campus of the University of Gastronomic Sciences.


    Cristina Bowerman is head Chef at the Michelin-starred Glass Osteria in Rome. With fourteen years in the restaurant business in Austin, Texas and a degree in Culinary Arts from the Cordon Bleu in Paris, Cristina prepares contemporary dishes with an emphasis on texture and locally grown ingredients. Her signature dishes are lobster and prosciutto; crispy sweetbreads with cauliflower and chocolate sauce; and a risotto with oysters, crème fraiche and artichokes.

    Massimo Bottura is Chef-owner of the Michelin-starred restaurant Osteria La Francescana in Modena, Emilia Romagna. Recognized for his skills in the kitchen and for his artistic presentation, Bottura’s cuisine is an avant-garde adaption of traditional cooking from Emilia Romagna, in which old and the new coexist to bring the eating experience to unprecedented places. His restaurant was named the best restaurant in Italy, and in 2009, it was finally included in the Top 50 Best Restaurants of the World. It is now ranked #6.

    Moreno Cedroni is the Michelin-starred Chef and co-owner, with his wife Mariella, of La Madonnina del Pescatore in Senigallia, on the Adriatic coast in the Marche region. He also owns Il Clandestino Susci Bar, on the beach close to Conero Hill in Portonovo, near Ancona. In 2003, he founded Officina, where Cedroni’s gastronomic specialties, fish above all, are preserved, made available to the public and, as he says on his web sites, “made immortal.” Amongst the top rated specialties squid with peas, octopus with potatoes and parsley, and roasted white tuna in extra virgin oil.


    Pino Cuttaia is Chef-owner of the Michelin-starred La Madia reastaurant in Licata in the province of Agrigento. Originally from Licata, Cuttaia lived in Turin for 8 years while working in a factory. Eventually he gave into his passion for cooking, promptly returning to his home-town to open the restaurant.  In the North of Italy he learned precision, he confesses on his web site, but it was to the south and to the recipes of his childhood that his heart belonged. Having returned to his roots, he continues to draw inspiration from his days in the Piedmont, thereby uniting flavors from two different worlds in a variety of delicious ways.  


    Gennaro Esposito is the Chef-owner of the Michelin-starred La Torre del Saracino in Marina d’Equa, just outside Vico Equense, on the Amalfi Coast. Esposito’s restaurant is known for his inventive adaptations of staple dishes. For example his Bolognese Ragout is made with octopus rather than the more traditional trio of beef, pork and veal. Espositos’ partner, Vittoria Aiello, pastry chef, caters to his customers' sweet tooth. Two paramount events are in the background of Esposito’s culinary life, an internship with Gianfranco Vissani, Italy’s top chef, and a coincidental encounter with Alain Ducasse.


    Niko Romito, Chef-owner of the Michelin-starred Ristorante Reale in Rivisondoli, in the province of Aquila, was studying Economics in Rome when his father decided to turn the family pastry store into a restaurant. Niko decided to change careers and become a chef. He moved to Venice to study at the Istituto Superiore Arti Culinarie Etoile. When he came back to Abruzzo, with the help of his sister, he revamped, and renamed the family restaurant. His forte: traditional regional ingredients mixed with modern techniques and minimalist presentation. Niko Romito was awarded the title of Italy's Best Chef at last year's Identità Golose.


    Luca Montersino
    is one of the most popular Italian pastry Chefs. He is also a food researcher, food writer and consultant for important pastry companies. From 2001 to 2004 he was director of the Istituto Superiore Arti Culinarie Etoile. He is also author of many cook books.


    Davide Scabin is Chef-owner of the Michelin-starred Combal.Zero.  A13th century medieval castle in Turin forms the stage for his theatrically innovative creations. Scabin, one of the world's leading chefs for experimental cooking, is known for taking recipes and subvert them in unexpected and successful ways. Pasta sushi with amberjack and foie gras, spaghetti pizza margherita, with glazed- baked cherry tomatoes and a hint of burrata cheese, are some examples.

    Emanuele Scarello owns and cooks in what is considered to be the best restaurant in Udine and, according to L’Espresso, a major Italian newsmagazine, in Friuli Venezia Giulia at large. Michelin-starred Chef-owner of Agli Amici in the charming town of Godia (famous for its potatoes), Scarello is the fifth generation of his family to operate the restaurant.  Scarello is known to push boundaries and experiment with new techniques while incorporating the local traditions.

    Pietro Zito is the Chef of Antichi Sapori, the Michelin-starred restaurant of Montegrosso (Andria) in the province of Bari. Son of two local farmers from the Murgia, Zito was an agricultural expert before pursuing a culinary career. He celebrates Puglia, the heel of Italy, and its products cime di rapa, pomodorini, extra virgin olive oil, grano arso, burrata from Andria and Pecorino canestrato. Zito's goal is to rediscover and incorporate products and flavors of the Murgia countryside and to make them known around the world. 


     
    The participating award-winning Chefs come from all regions of Italy and, together, synthesize the incredible richness and variety of Italian culinary culture. Given the level of combined talent, the event of Identità New York will surely draw the crowds to the gourmands' paradise.

    (More info here).

  • Minister for Equal Opportunities Mara Carfagna

    Women's Rights: Where We Are and Where We Are Headed

    On Friday September 24, on the occasion of the 65th United Nations General Assembly, the Italian Cultural Institute hosted the International Conference on the Protection of Women’s Rights.

    Minister for Equal Opportunities, Mara Carfagna, opened the event with an historical overview on women’s rights on both sides of the Atlantic. She stressed Italy’s paramount role in the protection of women’s rights, especially its commitment to eradicating the practice of female genital mutilation. In that regard, Emma Bonino, Vice President of the Italian Senate and co-founder of No Peace Without Justice, an Italian non-profit organization whose mission is to protect and promote human rights, spoke of the importance of passing a UN general resolution calling for a worldwide ban on FGM. “Female genital mutilation, beyond health and psychological consequences, is a violation of human rights,” said Bonino. She also acknowledged how in the last several years the “wall of silence” surrounding FGM has collapsed, although the difficulty in bringing together international forces to end the practice remains intact.

    Prof. Sanam Naraghi Anderlini, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Hon. Flavia Lattanzi, Judge for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, and Prof. Susan Akram, Boston University School of Law, spoke about women within the framework of international law. They touched on the landmark UNSC Resolution No. 1325 which plays a key role in preventing and resolving conflict while protecting women from gender-based violence. Prof. Anderlini stated, “If half of the world faces discrimination and violence, we can’t say we have peace.” Recent UN peacekeeping efforts that have seen an increase in women’s participation and have incorporated gender perspectives. While Lattanzi and Akram acknowledge the lack of positive news with respect to the state of women’s protection in extraordinary situations such as wartime violence and political refugees, Suzanne Goldberg, Columbia University, who also moderated the afternoon session, argued that in 10 years the outlook on women’s rights could be brighter if we managed to include cultural identities within a global framework in the women’s rights discourse. 
     

    During the afternoon session, President Emeritus of the Constitutional Court of Italy, Antonio Baldassarre spoke of the unconstitutional nature of gender based discrimination, and Hope Lewis, Northeastern University, discussed the economical, social, and cultural aspects of trans-national women’s rights in the English-speaking Caribbean. Rachel N. Mayanja, Special Adviser to the Secretary-General of the UN on Gender Issues, acknowledged the many forms of discrimination women face but stressed the importance of closing “the gap between rhetoric and action, between commitment and implementation.” Along with the UN, theInter-American Commissionon Human Rights (IACHR), represented by Dinah Shelton, George Washington University, is highly committed to the promotion and protection of women’s human rights. Angela del Vecchio’s paper analyzed the correlation between women’s rights and the values of each geographical region, from Europe to the Americas. Federiga Bindi from the Italian National School of Public Administration broadened the perspective on women’s leadership and stressed the importance of being assertive and developing an active voice. It was a point also expressed earlier by Emma Bonino, who said that that the limit to women’s empowerment is not due the lack of qualified players but lies in that there are men who are already in power and are unwilling to give it up. “Women have fully demonstrated  they can be leaders,“ Bonino said, “and the only path to leadership is by taking the risk and reclaiming that power.”

    Italian dignitaries attending the event included Ambassador of Italy to the US Giulio Terzi di Sant’Agata, Director of the Italian Cultural Institute Riccardo Viale, and Consul General of Italy Francesco Maria Talò. The Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs Franco Frattini, closed the conference reiterating the priority of women’s rights in the past, present, and future of Italian foreign policy. He concluded by underscoring that the protection of women is inextricably linked to peace, sustainable development, growth, democracy, and stability. For this reason, Frattini asserted that gender issues should be at the top of the international agenda and stated that “it is not just something to protect half of population, it is something we must to do to protect all of our interests.” And if the condition of women worldwide is directly connected to the well-being of humanity as a whole, it should, in fact, be a top priority for the UN.

  • Facts & Stories

    Dissecting Berlusconi’s Italy

    On Monday night, at the Lecture Hall of Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, it was hard to get a seat to attend the panel discussion “Free Press vs. Government Control: How Journalists Confront Political Corruption in Berlusconi's Italy.” Marco Travaglio, investigative journalist, bestseller author, founder of the daily newspaper Il Fatto Quotidiano, and Judge Piercamillo Davigo, one of the lead prosecutors in the famous “Mani Pulite” (Clean Hands) investigation of the early nineties, spoke to an overflowing crowd of young Italian and American attendees. The debate was moderated by Alexander Stille, professor of International Journalism at Columbia and renowned expert on Italian politics.

    According to Mr. Travaglio, the reason why TV is a pernicious enemy of democracy is not so much in the greater visibility it grants to those who control it, but rather in the fact that those who control it can decide what kind of information is handed down and how it is presented, thus ultimately shaping public opinion.  TV creates an ideal fence around reality: only what it brings to light exists, anything else doesn't. According to the Italian journalist this “simplification” has a dangerous consequence: the audience does not have the proper tools to form an opinion on all the little news they have access to. Travaglio further broadened his argument reminding the audience that he Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi not only owns a number of private television outlets, but he also exercises institutional influence on public channels. To put it in the words of journalist Claudio Gatti, also participating to the debate, it is like if Mr. Berlusconi controlled “CBS, NBC, ABC, PBS, Time Inc, the largest advertising agencies, Morgan Stanley, Random House and then the Yankees!”  In a country such as Italy, where television is still the main source of information for 70% of the people, this unprecedented control of the media is definitely an issue we should care about, Mr. Travaglio emphasized.

    Asked by Alexander Stille why “Mani Pulite”, the investigation that brought about the demise of the First Italian Republic in the early nineties, did not result in the envisioned change in the ethical standards of Italy's public life, Judge Piercamillo Davigo replied that "time erodes indignation." He also remarked that in the last fifteen years, no matter what parties were in power, very little has been done to contrast corruption in Italy, while much has been achieved in limiting its prosecution. Among the other factors that contribute to the enduring presence of corruption in Italy, Judge Davigo also mentioned the enormous length of the trials, an archaic phenomenon typical of Italy.

    Davigo also pointed at the unprecedented levels of penal deviance of the Italian ruling class: 10% of the members of the Italian Parliament has a criminal record. He then dwelled on the attacks that the Italian judiciary has endured in the last years, including accusations of being subversive and politically [left-wing] motivated moved by Silvio Berlusconi. Also, according to Davigo, the judicial reform advocated by the government would  jeopardize the independence of the Italian judicial system - the "last bastion" on which Italy can rely to contain public abuses. For Davigo the Italian political class is unable and unwilling to assimilate the basic principle shared by the Western world, according to which those who have political power are not above the law.

    Marco Travaglio took the microphone again and talked about his Il Fatto Quotidiano, a one-year old newspaper, very critical of the government, that has captured the attention of 120,000 people, notwithstanding the crisis that is hitting all newspapers in Italy. Ending on a positive note, he also mentioned the vehement reaction and unprecedented cohesion of Italian journalists against the Legge Bavaglio (gagging bill), which among other thinsg would prevent newspapers from publishing news concerning ongoing investigations.
     

    The second part of the discussion saw the inclusion of Nadia Urbinati (Professor of Political Science, Columbia University), Claudio Gatti (Sole 24 Ore) and Beatrice Borromeo (Il Fatto Quotidiano) for a  round table. Professor Urbinati exposed the weak opposition of the Italian left to Berlusconi, a phenomenon that Travaglio sees as caused by the desire of "legitimization." He also affirmed that the destructive “media-lynching” of which Berlusconi’s opponents are victim functions as a deterrent to any effective antagonism. Finally, he argued that politicians, no matter what their ideological stance is, share a sense of collective belonging to the same casta, which helps defy any real opposition.

    Gatti asked Travaglio and Davigo if in their opinion Berlusconi should be considered the real problem of Italy, or if he is just the final result of Italy’s problems. In a country where a profit-driven coalescence between business and media, a very low conflict of interest threshold- even in the world of journalism, and a 40 years-long collusion between politics and the mafia have been common practice for years, Silvio Berslusconi, is not such an incomprehensible phenomenon. In the words of Davigo, when the country is trapped among lack of regulation of political parties, abundance of laws, social backwardness and ability of the mafia organizations to control votes, Berlusconi is a quintessential result of this accidental terrain.

    Carlo Gatti dwelled on the statement earlier made by Davigo that 10% of Italian politicians in office are convicted or indicted and affirmed that many “managed to get elected to avoid going to prison.” He brought the example of Marcello Dell’Utri, Berlusconi's right arm sentenced to seven years' imprisonment for relations with the mafia. In February 2010, he confessed to journalist and fellow panelist Beatrice Borromeo to have started his political career because of his criminal problems. In Italy, in fact, members of the Parliament are not pursuable during their political mandate

    Interestingly the debate took place in the school of journalism founded by Joseph Pulitzer, who on the eve of its opening said: “Our Republic and its press will rise or fall together. An able, disinterested, public-spirited press, with trained intelligence to know the right and courage to do it, can preserve that public virtue without which popular government is a sham and a mockery. A cynical, mercenary, demagogic press will produce in time a people as base as itself.”

  • Events: Reports

    HITWEEK: Unexpected Creative Italians Land in New York City and Los Angeles for a Week of Music

    The second edition of HitWeek, the North American festival promoting Italy’s current music trends, is back. From October 9 to October 17, New York And Los Angeles will host a showcase of Italy’s contemporary creativity.

    The initiative is the fruit of the collaboration between MTV Italia and the Italian Youth Ministry, in the person of Minister Giorgia Meloni. The aim is to promote young Italian artists abroad through an unique exclusive context that will give them the opportunity to perform with their idols on the stages of the two hypocenters of US music. The contest will be open up until September 26.

    The all-Italian line-up of famous artists who are participating in this binational initiative includes Ludovico Einaudi, Elisa, Negrita, Roy Paci & Aretuska, Après la Classe, and Le Bianche Alchimie

    Italy is not only “Mandolino and Operetta. We’re able to rock’n roll the world with a unique mix of cool music, vitality, creativity and artistic vibes, ” the official web site of HitWeek stresses.

    The Festival kicks off in New York on October 8th, with a concert by Ludovico Einaudi.  Contemporary pianist and composer from Turin, grandson of a President of the Italian Republic, and son of Italy’s homonymous publisher, Einaudi is known for his minimalist and introspective compositions often used in film and television.

    Elisa, the multi-platinum singer familiar to the American audiences for her ballad "Dancing" featured on the TV show "So You Think You Can Dance, " will also be part of the Festival. Native of Veneto, she is known for her melodic and ethereal style.

    From Elisa’s soft music to Negrita’s alternative rock. The Tuscan band takes its name from the Song Hey! Negrita by The Rolling Stones. Founded in the early 90s in Arezzo, Negrita is a multi-award winning, multi-platinum selling band, which has experimented through the years mixing blues, electronic sounds, rock and multicultural @font-face {
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    Another band part of the Festival has perfected the art of genre blending, Roy Paci & Aretuska. Led by ska trumpetist and composer Roy “Rosario” Paci, Sicilian from Augusta, the band is known for its remarkable mix of jazz, pop, reggae/ska, latin rock and folk.

    Pianist, composer and conductor is a social phenomenon in Italy, Giovanni Allevi is the enfant terrible who shocked the musical Academia with his talent and charisma. The concert he held last September 2009 at the Arena di Verona, an historical event which was defined as the “Woodstock of contemporary classical music”

    The group  Après la Classe will perform in Los Angeles with the Negrita, Roy Paci and his band. Their music is inspired by the traditional repertoir of their area of origin, Salento, in the Apulia region.

    Finally, the duo Le Bianche Alchimie will surely enchant the audiences of both cities with their melancholic, delicate, and poetic music and pieces able to touch the deepest strings of the soul. Vocalist Jessica Einaudi and pianist and guitarist Federico Albanese will give life to such an intimate atmosphere that will make you blash

    This year i-Italy is media partner of HitWeek @font-face {
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    Just enter our free tickets giveaway contest at http://contest.i-Italy.org. Every day until the dates of the concert you will find a new question regarding the artists who will play at HitWeek. The first who answers correctly to the question of the day wins.

    Taking place during the Italian Heritage and Culture Month celebrations, Hit Week will contribute in coloring NY and LA in green white and red…with fresher tints.

    The three venues selected for the New York performances are The Poisson Rouge, the Orensanz, and the Hightline Ballroom , while in Los Angeles the artists will play at the El Rey Theatre and at the Ford Ampitheatre.

    Find the full schedule at this link

  • Art & Culture

    67th Venice Film Festival. The Golden Lion to Sofia Coppola. A Case of Conflict of Interests?

    The 67th Venice Film Festival is over but the controversy is still spreading like wildfire. On Saturday night, an emotional President of the International jury, Quentin Tarantino, stressed the unanimous nature of the jury’s picks. Few moments later he handed the Golden Lion to Sofia Coppola, fellow filmmaker and ex-girlfriend.

     

    First American (and Italian-American) woman to win the top prize in Venice, Coppola is the director of Somewhere, a Los Angeles-based comic dramaabout a burned-out actor (Stephen Dorff) whose life of excesses is put into question by the unexpected visit of his 11-year-old daughter (Elle Fanning).

    In this low-key film evocative of the spirit and ethos of her acclaimed 2003 “Lost In Translation” (hotels, alienation and fame seems to be a fruitful mix for Coppola) is hard not to see the biographical undertones. As a child she often lived in hotels while on location with her famous film director father, Francis Ford Coppola. "Thanks to my Dad for teaching me,” said Sofia accepting the award.

    “This was a film that enchanted us from our first screening,” Tarantino remarked, “yet from that first enchanting screening, it grew and grew and grew in both our hearts, in our analysis, in our minds, and in our affections. But on Sunday morning, from the columns of the Corriere della Sera, Italy's best-selling and most respected daily, veteran film critic Paolo Mereghetti wrote "the presidency of Quentin Tarantino runs the risk of turning into the most obvious conflict of interest possible.

    A long-time friend and a mentor (as well as executive producer of Tarantino’s first movie hit, Reservoir Dogs) were also among the award winners.The choice of Alex de la Iglesia as best director and best screenwriter for Balada triste de trompeta/A Sad Trumpet Ballad, and the Special Lion "for an Overall Work" for Monte Hellman, whose Road to Nowhere screened in competition, contributed in galvanizing the accusations of favoritism against the jury head.“Somewhere and Road to Nowhere, not in my view but according to the press in general, were seen as charming and interesting but nothing more” added Mereghetti.

     
    Tarantino denied the accusations and defended the legitimacy of the jury’s choices. He also spoke of an episode involving himself and Monte Hellman. "I remember talking to him [Hellman] in 1992 at the Sundance Film Festival, when I was there with my film Reservoir Dogs. I actually had a friend on the jury and he told me that a friend on the jury is your worst enemy as they would be too embarrassed to give you a prize. I wasn't going to let anything like that effect me.” And in fact, on the closing night of The 67th Venice Film Festival at the SalaGrande del Palazzo Del Cinema, Sofia Coppola scooped the top prize.
     
    This accusatory backlash by the Italian media follows Mr. Tarantino 2007 communication faux pas when at the Cannes Film Festival he undiplomatically verbalized a dislike for contemporary Italian cinema. Tarantino, who often expressed admiration for Italian B-movies, recognizing the inspirational role in his creative career of the lurid, ultra-violent and exploitative Italian cinema of the 1960s and 1970s, had harsh words for the current cinematographic production. “The Italian films I’ve seen over the past few years all seem the same. All they talk about is boys growing up, girls growing up, couples in crisis and holidays for the mentally disabled." Just few days ago, however, probably in a late attempt to correct- to use Pedro Almodovar’s words- his “verbal incontinence”, Tarantino affirmed to have been misquoted and added that Italian cinema is synonymous with “passione." This minuet of opinions certainly did not help him gain local media sympathies.
     
    Gabriele Salvatores, fellow juror in Venice, however, defended Tarantino and remarked in an interview following the Award ceremony the irony of talking of conflict of interest in a country like Italy. Instead of writing about an empty gossip, the Oscar winner director said, this Festival should be an occasion to ponder on the reasons behind the lack of Italian winners. “This must be an opportunity to reflect on our cinema” Salvatores remarked, “we have two burdensome ‘parents,’ if we want to grow up we must bypass our forefathers, Italian Comedy and Neoralism".
     
    Slightly overshadowed - or maybe from another perspective, helped- by the nepotism controversy, Sofia Coppola’s Golden Lion winner Somewhere is scheduled for wide release December 22nd. 
     

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