Rome Festival to Honor Quentin Tarantino in Special Ceremony

Quentin Tarantino

"I could so care less ... especially if Disney's going to do it. I'm not interested in the Simon West version of Star Wars."

Ennio Morricone will present the filmmaker with a lifetime achievement award Jan. 4, ahead of the European premiere of "Django Unchained."

ROME -- The International Rome Film Festival said Friday it will present director Quentin Tarantino with a special lifetime achievement honor, along with a gala screening of his spaghetti Western homage Django Unchained, the film's European premiere.

The event, in which iconic Italian film composer Ennio Morricone will present Tarantino with the award, will take place Jan. 4. Although the seventh edition of the Rome fest concluded Nov. 17, the ceremony is being cast as a continuation of the festival, the first under the artistic direction of former Venice Film Festival head Marco Mueller.

Morricone, a five-time Oscar winner, composed the music for more than 500 films, including many of the best-known spaghetti Westerns.

Tarantino and Django have been connected to Mueller and the Rome festival since early in the year, even before Mueller officially was confirmed as artistic director in May. The film was not finished in time to screen at festival in November, but all along Mueller promised -- always in cryptic terms -- that Rome would play some role in the film’s launch, though he never elaborated.

With the Jan. 4 screening, Mueller kept his word. Django opened Dec. 25 in North America, but the Rome event will be part of the international launch for the film, which will open in most European territories -- including Italy -- Jan. 16, 17, or 18.

In a statement, Mueller praised Tarantino’s vision as a director.

“Quentin Tarantino’s vision has radically influenced our collective imagery over the past 20 years,” he said. “Tarantino is a profoundly American yet very European filmmaker, because the relationship he has established with cinema and its history is as analytical as it is passionate.”

Tarantino and Django have a strong connection with Italy. The filmmaker is a self-proclaimed fan of the spaghetti Western genre, and the film was inspired by Sergio Corbucci’s 1966 classic Django. Franco Nero, the Roman actor who played the title role 46 years ago, has a small part in the new film. Tarantino and Mueller also have ties: Tarantino was the head of the international jury at Venice in 2010, when Mueller was artistic director there.