Taormina Film Fest to Honor Claudia Cardinale at 60th Edition

Claudia Cardinale in 1965's "Sandra"

Festival officials said the 76-year-old actress will be the event's "muse," overseeing a special retrospective and the awarding of the prestigious Taormina Arte Award.

ROME – Sicily’s Taormina Film Festival will celebrate its 60th edition with an homage celebrating the nearly 60-year career of acclaimed actress and celebrated former pin-up girl Claudia Cardinale.

Cardinale, who will turn 76 next week, is best known for her role in Luchino Visconti’s classic The Leopard (Il gatopardo), which was set in Sicily. Other key Cardinale roles include parts in Federico Fellini’s famed 8 ½ and Sergio Leone’s spaghetti western classic Once Upon a Time in the West (C’era una volt ail West), a genre she will revisit in a new comedic outtake, Once Upon a Time in the Western, from Bulgarian director Boris Despodov, now in post-production.

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Cardinale was the youngest headliner in a class of Italian divas from the 1950s and 1960s that included Sophia Loren and Gina Lollobrigida.

Cardinale will be the festival’s “muse,” officials said, with a special retrospective of her work along with special side events dedicated to her as well as the festival’s prestigious Taormina Arte Award.

“It is important to do something special to celebrate Taormina’s 60th anniversary,” said Mario Sesti, the festival’s artistic director.

Taormina said it will also present lifetime achievement prizes to Dante Ferretti and his wife, Francesca Lo Schiavo, acclaimed set designers connected to many iconic films, including three that took home Oscars for best art direction: Martin Scorcese’s The Aviator (from 2004) and Hugo (2011), plus Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, directed by Tim Burton (2007).

Taormina, the picturesque cliffside festival set in Sicily’s northeastern corner, takes place this year June 14-21.

Twitter: @EricJLyman