Taormina Film Fest Gets World Cup Fever

From "Cesar Chavez"

Italy's 0-1 loss to Costa Rica, which screened at the fest, dampened attendance at the Friday evening screening of "Cesar Chavez."

TAORMINA, Sicily -- Friday turned out to be soccer themed at the Taormina Film Fest, with a late afternoon screening of Italy's World Cup soccer match against Costa Rica drawing the day's biggest crowds, ahead of the Teatro Antico Italian premiere of Diego Luna's Cesar Chavez.

The fest handed out several awards ahead of the Cesar Chavez screening, including one to former Italian soccer star Antonio Cabrini.

Among the other honorees: Italian producer Marina Cicogna, whose 1970 crime drama Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion (Indagine su un cittadino al di sopra ogni sospetto) won an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, and Spanish actress Paz Vega, who charmed the crowd with Spanish-accented remarks read in Italian, thanking Taormina for its hospitality.

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The Teatro Antico crowd was small for a Friday evening at the Taormina Fest -- the massive 2,700-year-old venue hosted just a few hundred movie goers -- with enthusiasm likely dampened by Italy's unexpected 0-1 loss to the Costa Ricans in the game earlier. The attendance was enough that Italian comics Ficarra and Picone, who were also honored Friday, joked that they sent their greetings "to everyone here … and also those who decided to stay at home."

The festival concludes Saturday, with highlights that include a Master Class hosted by actor John Turturro and a Teatro Antico screening of Amma Asante's historical drama Belle, preceded by a special 20-minute sneak peek screening of the latest Planet of the Apes production, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.

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