Roman Polanski's 'Venus in Fur' to Open Italy's Ischia Global Fest

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Roman Polanski.

Polanski will be given the Ischia Legend Award in absentia, with the festival also set to honor Giuseppe Tornatore's "The Best Offer."

ROME – Roman Polanski’s La Vénus à la fourrure (Venus in Fur), which earned accolades in competition in Cannes this year, will open next month’s Ischia Global Film & Music Fest, where Polanski will be given -- in absentia -- the Ischia Legend Award, the festival's highest honor, organizers announced Tuesday.

Earlier, the festival announced it would honor The Best Offer from Oscar winner Giuseppe Tornatore as Film of the Year. The comedy, which stars Geoffrey Rush as a quirky art auctioneer obsessed with an heiress-collector, is garnering plenty of interest in Italy, earning a dozen David di Donatello nominations, including Best Film and Best Director, and three Nastri D’Argento (Silver Ribbons) nominations, including Best Director and Best Screenplay.


The Best Offer is being hyped in Italy as a possible Oscar contender, though if that pans out it would have to be in one of the mainstream categories, since its predominantly English-language script makes it ineligible for the Best Foreign Language Film category, which Tornatore won in 1990 for Cinema Paradiso.

Ischia also said it would honor Valeria Golino, whose sophomore directorial effort Miele (Honey) won a special mention out of the Un Certain Regard sidebar in Cannes as Breakout Director of the Year. Golino, a 46-year-old native of Naples, is an established actress with credits that include Barry Levinson’s Rain Man, in which she played the female lead opposite Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise, and Julie Taymor’s Frida Kahlo biopic Frida, in which she played Guadalupe Marin, the second wife of Kahlo’s husband Diego Rivera. Miele is her feature film debut as a director, following Armandino e il Madre, which won a Nastri D’Argento prize as Best New Short Film two years ago.

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Meanwhile, the acclaimed La Vénus à la fourrure from Polanski -- himself an Oscar winner for The Pianist, a decade ago -- will get the festival started July 14. The film recounts the story of an aspiring actress, played by Emmanuelle Seigner, seeking to convince a film director she should be in his next film. The Ischia screening will be the Italian premiere.

The festival previously announced that, in addition to Polanski, it would present Ischia Legend Awards to actors Nicolas Cage and Samuel L. Jackson, as well celebrate film producer Arnon Milchan. All three are expected to be on hand to receive the honors.

The eight-day event, which takes place on the idyllic island of Ischia, off the coast of Naples, concludes July 21.

Twitter: @EricJLyman

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