Italian film industry rebukes Tarantino

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ROME -- The Italian cinema industry is up in arms after recent comments from director Quentin Tarantino, who called the current state of the film industry "depressing."

Italian newspapers on Monday and over the weekend were full of reaction to the director's comments, which came less than a month after it was revealed that he would co-present a series of Spaghetti Westerns in a special sidebar at this year's Venice Film Festival.

Tarantino is known to be a fan of old Italian films, but according to his recent comments published in Sorrisi & Canzioni -- the country's leading television magazine -- his love for the country's film productions does not extend to more contemporary cuts.

"New Italian cinema is just depressing," Tarantino said. "Recent films I've seen are all the same. They talk about boys growing up, or girls growing up, or couples having a crisis, or vacations of the mentally impaired."

Those defending modern Italian cinema included some of the best-known names in the game.

"How dare he talk about Italian cinema when he doesn't know anything about American cinema?" asked Naples-born Sophia Loren, according to media reports.

"Tarantino is a brute," said Marco Bellocchio, a five-time Palme d'Or nominee in Cannes and a member of this year's Cannes jury.

Even editorial writers got in on the counterattack, with the left-wing daily L'Unita saying Tarantino was himself "mentally impaired."

The center-left daily La Repubblica, Italy's second-largest newspaper, said that if Italian film isn't what it used to be, neither was Tarantino.

"Tarantino is no longer the Tarantino that made 'Pulp Fiction,' " the newspaper opined.
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