Afghan and Italian films triumph at Rome film fest

November 1st, 2008 - 4:42 pm ICT by IANS  

Rome, Nov 1 (DPA) Afghan director Siddiq Barmak’s, Opium War, and Italy’s Giacomo Battiato’s Resolution 819, about war crimes in Bosnia, won top prizes at the International Rome Film Festival Friday.The Golden Marc’Aurelio Critics Award for Best Film was bestowed on Opium War, in which a pair of US helicopter pilots confront the harsh realities of life in Afghanistan after their aircraft is shot down.

The Golden Marc’Aurelio Audience Award for Best Film - for which visitors selected their favourite among this year’s 20 films in competition - went to Battiato’s thriller.

Set in the grim context of Balkan “ethnic cleansing,” it deals with an investigator’s attempt to uncover the truth around the 1995 Srebrenica massacre.

Italian Donatella Finocchiaro won the Silver Marc’Aurelio Critics Award for Best Actress for her role as a female mafia boss in Galantuomini, while Ukrainian Bohdan Stupka collected the Best Actor Award for A Warm Heart in which he plays a corrupt Polish oligarch who discovers he is terminally ill.

Earlier Friday the festival honoured veteran diva Gina Lollobrigida with a career Golden Marc’Aurelio Acting Award.

A documentary, Gina Lollobrigida: An Italian symbol in the world, was also screened.

“La Lollo,” one of the first European sex symbols to emerge in the aftermath of World War II, made her Hollywood debut in 1954, in Beat the Devil, which also starred Humphrey Bogart.

What followed were roles partnering some of the screen’s top leading men, including Anthony Quinn, Burt Lancaster and Sean Connery.

“I’m moved by this prize which I receive from Rome, the city where my career began at its Cinecitta studios. From here it took me to America and around the world,” the 81-year-old Lollobrigida said.

Some uncertainty surrounded this year’s festival - the event’s third edition, but the first under the city’s new, centre-right mayor, Gianni Alemanno, who has championed a stronger Italian presence over previous editions’ focus on Hollywood productions.

Organizers however, claimed success. They noted that while the 580,000 visitors for the 10-day event represented a 3.3 percent drop compared to 2007, a 4.5 percent increase in the number of tickets sold was registered.

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