Taviani Brothers and Monica Bellucci Honored at Ischia Fest

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"Paolo and Vittorio Taviani"

Wednesday was an award heavy day at the 10th edition of the festival, with "Bad Lieutenant" director Abel Ferrara and composer Robert De Simone also feted.

ISCHIA, Italy -- The awards were flowing at the 10th edition of the Ischia Global Film & Music Fest Wednesday with brothers Paolo and Vittorio Taviani honored with the festival’s top Ischia Legends Award, and bombshell Monica Bellucci honored with the Ischia Award for Actor of the Year.

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Also honored Wednesday were director Abel Ferrara, 61, presented with festival’s Ischia Arte Award and Italian composer and  80-year-old theatre director Roberto De Simone was given the Ischia Music Award.

All the honors were handed out ahead of the nighttime screening of the Taviani brothers’ award-winning film Cesare deve morire (Caesar Must Die), which recounts the exploits of a prison acting troupe preparing to perform William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. The film has already earned the storied Tavianis the Golden Bear honor in Berlin, and later dominated the David di Donatello awards and earned them the Nastri d’Argento dell’Anno (The Silver Ribbon of the Year) from the National Union of Italian Cinema Journalists.

Paolo Taviani was not in attendence, but brother Vittorio was nonchalant about the latest slew of honors in their careers, which date back to 1954.

“Awards have never been important to us,” Vittorio Taviani told reporters. “What is important is the inspiration to continue working, and we are thankful we continue to enjoy that.”

Paolo and Vittorio, aged 80 and 82, respectively, have never embarked on any film project independently. Each directs alternate scenes of their movies, without interference from the other.

Bellucci, meanwhile, was hailed by Ischia founder and artistic director Pascal Vicedomini as “the most beloved and sought-after Italian actress in the world,” and a “true diva.” But the latter was a superlative the 47-year-old actress and former fashion model brushed aside.

“I don’t want to be seen as an icon,” Bellucci said in a media briefing Wednesday. “I want to be seen as an actress.”

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The day before was relatively low key in Ischia, with writer and director Terry Gilliam finally honored with his own Ischia honor after a one-day delay and the Italian premiere of Kirk Jones’ comedy What to Expect When You’re Expecting, which screened in the festival’s signature lagoon-side film venue. Before hand, The Beginner, a silent 14-minute short based on the life of silent film start Rudolph Valentino directed by Pierluigi Ferrandini, was shown to an enthusiastic response, with some of the cast on hand for the screening.

The festival, which got underway Saturday, concludes July 15.