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TAORMINA, Sicily – Lawrence Kasdan’s Darling Companion was the main event Tuesday at the Taormina Film Festival, which also announced that it would give way to Italy’s first passion — soccer — by reshuffling its evening lineup Thursday night to let the Italian national team’s match against Germany screen at the festival’s famous Teatro Antico venue.
The changes in Thursday’s schedule mean that the presentation of the prestigious Taormina Arte Award to acting icon Sofia Loren will take place at halftime of the soccer match, and that the “White, Red, and Verdone” encounter starring Italian comic, actor, and director Carlo Verdone will be split before and after the match, with the special homage of Verdone’s 40-year career will screen immediately after the game. The Italian premiere of French comedy Adieu Berthe – L’enterrement de meme (Granny’s Funeral) planned for Thursday night will be rescheduled as well.
Tuesday’s screening of Darling Companion half filled the 3,000 seat Teatro Antico, Taormina’s headline venue that was built 2,700 years ago by Greek settlers. The film stars Diane Keaton and Kevin Kline as a married couple with comedic tensions related to their dog. The film, Kasdan’s first in nine years, was presented by his son Jon, whose coming of age comedy The First Time screened in the Teatro Antico Monday night. It was the first time the two Kasdans had films screen in the same festival.
Earlier Tuesday, the younger Kasdan participated in a special round table discussion, where he explained the inspiration for his boy-meets-girl-but-doesn’t-have-the-nerve-to-talk-to-her story.
“When I was a teenager, I was seeing a psychologist and very upset because I didn’t have the nerve to tell a certain girl how I felt about her, and the psychologist said, ‘Don’t worry about telling her how you feel; just ask her one a date,’” Jon Kasdan said. “So I asked her on a date and she said no. Hopefully, she’ll see this movie eventually and think: What did I miss out on?”
On Tuesday the festival also hosted a Master Class with Lisa Edelstein, the actress best known for her work as the love interest on the popular television series House. Edelstein talked about her early career, her breakthrough success playing a beautiful transvestite on the program Ally McBeal. It was the third such Master Class in Taormina, following successful events featuring Sex in the City actor Jason Lewis and eccentric actor and director Terry Gilliam.
The 58-year-old festival is in the process of transforming itself into a destination event for what artistic director Mario Sesti calls “quality comedy and horror” films, though for this year’s event Sesti said the transformation process is not yet complete. The event got underway June 22 and will conclude Thursday following the soccer match.
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