In Italy, 100 movies, 100 complaints

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ROME -- The list of 100 films to be preserved from Italy's so-called Golden Age of films is attracting unexpected controversy.

In the 10 days since the "Hundred Film and One Country" project was unveiled, the Italian press has carried scores of stories weighing in on the process and the selections made by the 10-person committee of experts. Almost none of the articles were without criticism.

When the list was unveiled at an official ceremony a week after it was decided on, organizers were criticized for leaving out several names, such as Lina Wertmueller, who in 1977 became the first woman nominated for a best director Oscar for "Pasquino Settebellezze" (Seven Beauties), and Liliana Cavani, a three-time nominee for Cannes' Palme d'Or.

Since then, some local media criticized an over-emphasis on a handful of directors, such as Federico Fellini, who had seven films on the list; Luchino Visconti, with six; and Vittorio De Sica, Mario Monicelli and Francesco Rosi, with five each. The hundred films on the list came from only 42 directors.

Other media criticisms said the list included -- alternately -- too many comedies, too many serious films or too few controversial films.

On Monday, cinema retail association ANEC applauded the list but said that the films on it should have been distributed in the country's cinemas.

"What is the point of having these films if they cannot be seen on the big screen?" ANEC director Paolo Protti asked.

Instead, the productions -- all of which come from the period between 1942 and 1978 -- will be refurbished when needed and then provided free of charge for small-scale educational and cultural use.
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