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H I S T O R Y   OF   F E S T I V A L

TAORMINA - 65 YEARS OF STARS

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Taormina: the gaze runs from the inviting sea to the imposing Etna, like on a natural big screen in Cinemascope. The link between Taormina and the cinema is innate. At the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, almost coinciding with the invention of the Lumière brothers, Taormina became the elective home of Baron Wilhelm von Gloeden, who left a striking visual heritage of photographs and postcards depicting young Sicilians dressed up as gods of Olympus (place proverbial for the Decima Musa) with shining panoramas in the background: his studio was visited, among others, by Oscar Wilde, Gabriele D'Annunzio, Eleonora Duse. And thanks to his images an illustrious series of personalities wanted to see the "Pearl of the Ionian" live, helping to create a legend that continues: from the Emperor of Germany William II to David H. Lawrence, from Tennessee Williams to Greta Garbo, the "Divine", the first star of world cinema to love and visit often - incognito - Taormina.
​In 1955 in Messina a cinematographic review was born and Taormina quickly became its fundamental and ideal seat - with the complicity of the unrepeatable setting of the Ancient Theater - for directors, actors, producers, distributors who can find an important meeting point. Years ago, on the Croisette in Cannes, Peter Fonda and Terence Stamp remembered having met at the Taorminese Festival of 1965. Peter Fonda loved basking in the sun, playing the guitar on the beach a stone's throw from Isola Bella: he had arrived to meet Federico Fellini and discussing a project, which two years later would have been the episode "Toby Dammit" in "Tre passi nel delirio". The role instead fell to Terence Stamp, who became a great friend of Peter Fonda thanks to that summer in Taormina: the two promised to work together and succeeded, 34 years later, in the film "The Limey" by Steven Soderbergh. Another famous promise, then maintained, was that of Woody Allen. Invited out of competition at the 1971 Taormina Festival with "The Free State Dictator of Bananas", the then unrecognized Woody Allen was struck by the beauty of the Ancient Theater and pledged to want it as a set, "betraying" his favorite Manhattan. Something that happened, more than twenty years later, with "The goddess of love" (played by Mira Sorvino, later also a guest of Taormina): a privilege, more unique than rare, of having the Ancient Theater as a scenario perfect for the Seventh Art in which to shoot the sequences of the Greek choir led in the film by F. Murray Abraham. Nor should we forget Roberto Benigni, a wild animator - from Oscar for his sympathy - in 1979 of a "minor" edition of the Festival, which then wanted to return to Taormina with Walter Matthau for the filming of "Piccolo diavolo" and again, in the hinterland, to create "Johnny Stecchino". There are also those who have taken the reverse path: Michelangelo Antonioni entrusted scenarios in Taormina, from the Hotel San Domenico to the Bay of Naxos in the background, the conclusion of one of his masterpieces, "L'avventura", shot in 1959 also among the Aeolian, Messina and Noto. Since then Antonioni has always exalted his bond with Sicily and Taormina in particular, assiduously attending the Festival, greeted with warmth and admiration each time, with particular enthusiasm in '91 when Bernardo Bertolucci handed him a "Golden Chardder" among the ovations special. An affection that Antonioni consecrated later also presenting in the Ancient Theater a preview of the short film "Sicilia". Even Carlo Verdone, award-winning in the Ancient Theater with the Silver Ribbons, wanted to shoot in Taormina in 2007 an episode of his "Grande, grosso e ... Verdone". But even a star of the caliber of Robert De Niro, just as he was a guest of honor in Taormina in 2010, accepted director Giovanni Veronesi's proposal to take part in "Manuale d'amore 3" next to Monica Bellucci. The uniqueness of the stage of the Ancient Theater has allowed, over time, even small "miracles": how to see unusually but pleasantly dressed Rainer Werner Fassbinder in an 80 with an impeccable tuxedo; to listen with absolute emotion in 84, during a "Festival for the theater", the "spiritual testament" of Eduardo De Filippo, in his last public appearance, in front of his son Luca; in the 1990s, together on the stage, they applauded the "5 colonels of Italian comedy" Monica Vitti, Alberto Sordi, Nino Manfredi, Ugo Tognazzi and Vittorio Gassman; having fun with Pedro Almodovar, who had improvised in 1994, the perfect host for the FilmFest so much to welcome his colleague John Waters with a popping kiss; or even at the stroke of midnight between 2 and 3 July 2000 contemplate the spectators who illuminate the auditorium with the candles lit to wish Tom Cruise a happy birthday called to collect a special Silver Ribbon; or even get excited about the Teatro Antico in 2012 metaphorically transformed into a stadium to watch Italy-Germany of the Europeans, with Sophia Loren ready to cheer on the audience.

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Perhaps no one could imagine that the Taormina event would have come a long way. Fashion and culture, worldliness and entertainment, divismo and tourism, social evolution - in the name of cinema - are mixed in the history of the first 65 years of the international film review launched in Messina in August 1955 by a group of cinephiles (including Arturo Arena , then vice-president of the Association of cinema exhibitors) with seven films scheduled - to inaugurate Andrew Marton's "Green Fire" - projected in one of the most enchanting places in the city, the "terrace" on the Straits, at the Fair, of a very local famous at the time, the Irrera a mare. First and remarkable presence, the actresses Irene Genna, wife of Amedeo Nazzari, and Brunella Bovo. The simple goal was to create a "Festival of cordiality", with promotional ambitions. Already in 1956 the management of the Festival passed - until the 1980s - to the provincial tourism authority of the Peloritano, whose president of the time, Michele Ballo, proved to be an impeccable landlord until 1968, to then delegate the role to Giuseppe Campione, very attentive to youth and cultural ferment, while from 1972 Ept president was Eugenio Longo and from 1980 Ermanno Jannuzzi. And just in '56 Gabriella Pallotta and the well-known Sandra Milo were present. Since 1957 a clear leap in quality because the Messina projections were accompanied by Taormina as the venue for the David di Donatello awards ceremony: Ingrid Bergman's first major international presence, who enjoyed being filmed by Federico Fellini's camera, filming it in turn . The David ceremony became a fixture in the Ancient Theater and was renewed until 1980, passing the baton to the other great recognition of Italian cinema: the Silver Ribbons of the National Journalists Film Union - until 1989 and then permanently since 2000 except for a few short breaks - still delivered to Taormina. Among the first famous winners of the Ribbons in the Ancient Theater was Massimo Troisi in 1981. In 1987 he received the Ribbon, as a debut director with "Il Camorrista" was Giuseppe Tornatore, thrilled to receive such an important award (he would have won it again many times) ) in his Sicily. And in that same year a Ribbon to another future Oscar winner, Roberto Benigni, awarded as the protagonist of "Daunbailò".
​For more than ten years the Festival continued to divide itself between Messina and Taormina: from 1964 the event was held for the first half in the capital, to continue and end in the "Pearl of the Ionian", which finally became almost exclusive location. In Messina at the turn of the fifties and sixties, summer projections turned into coveted and desired soirées. With months in advance the hunt for the invitation began, the girls of good family dreamed of the dress they would have shown off for the occasion, the men restored the obligatory tuxedo, or went out of their way to find it for hire. To everyone else, like today in Los Angeles or Cannes or Venice, all that was left was to crowd behind the barriers to witness the entrance of the luckiest and above all the stars of the big screen.
In Taormina the glitter of the stars shone for the evening of the David, real "night of the stars" when thousands of spectators who crowded the cavea of ​​the Ancient Theater were called to light the candles distributed at the entrance: a glance to do the chills come. In 1958, among others, Anna Magnani and Gina Lollobrigida, Sam Spiegel and Tennessee Williams, Vittorio De Sica and Vittorio Gassman were fascinated, to whom in that year the Olimpo Prize for Theater was awarded, the first example of the vocation of Ancient Theater to host every form of great show that would have led, in 1983, with the careful work of the members of the Committee of experts side by side to the Committee, to the establishment of "Taormina Arte" with its articulations that include, in addition to the cinema, also theater, music and visual arts. Year after year, none of the stars of the moment, often fresh Oscar winners, gave up attending the "night of the stars": a phantasmagorical Hollywood cast could be composed for a blockbuster produced by Darryl F. Zanuck, starring Cary Grant, Susan Hayward, Leslie Caron, Van Heflin, Anthony Quinn, Charlton Heston, Anthony Perkins, Audrey Hepburn, Gregory Peck, Linda Christian, Shirley MacLaine, Joan Crawford, Lana Turner, Yul Brynner, Cornel Wilde, John Huston, Cliff Robertson, Rex Harrison, Peter O'Toole, Rita Hayworth, Henry Fonda, Burt Lancaster, Peter Ustinov and many others.
​Without forgetting European actors such as Jean-Louis Trintignant, Melina Mercouri, Catherine Spaak, Alain Delon and of course the Italian darlings: Alberto Sordi, several times protagonist in the Ancient Theater with proverbial impromptu "answer and answer" to the public, Sophia Loren, Claudia Cardinale, Nino Manfredi, Monica Vitti, Ugo Tognazzi, Giulietta Masina, Marcello Mastroianni, Silvana Mangano, Stefania Sandrelli, Walter Chiari, Renato Rascel, Aldo Fabrizi, Antonella Lualdi, Franco Interlenghi and so on, directors Mauro Bolognini, Luigi Comencini and Pietro Germi, the producers Carlo Ponti, Dino De Laurentiis and Franco Cristaldi.

G  A  L L E R Y

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Almost all the big names of the cinema stopped for a few days, sometimes just to participate in the grand gala. But not always: Marlene Dietrich, for example, in '62 was the exceptional lookout in Taormina when, for a few months and at the limits of legality, a casino was opened, in the villa Mon Repos. The stars, and the innumerable "starlets" around, were often called to cross the Ancient Theater on a walkway - which started from the adjacent Hotel Timeo - along the lower limit of the cavea in the crowd, among hundreds of hands that wanted to touch them : a special slide was built for Marlene, which made her arrive, with great effect, at the center of the stage. The Review had become a corner of the "dolce vita", with lots of local "paparazzi", whose prince remains the "small" Michelangelo Vizzini, while Mazzarò beaches were invaded by foreign beauties, with a bold look and at the time considered unprejudiced. One of the highest points of the divismo of those times was touched when from "Hollywood on the Tiber" Liz Taylor and Richard Burton arrived in Taormina in 1967: on their eccentricities it is still fabled.
So many anecdotes, much emphasis, endless memories on the verge of gossip, but little memory in those early years of the Review of films gradually proposed, crushed as they were by worldliness. Inevitable, so, the "wind of '68" that blew - and not always by reflex - on the destiny of the Review, anticipated by the presence of "committed" authors like Bernardo Bertolucci, accompanied in 1965 by Adriana Asti, and later Joseph Losey , Gillo Pontecorvo, Sergio Leone, Richard Brooks, Francesco Rosi. In Messina the screenings were collected in the "Week of the new film", animated by Sandro Anastasi, which left room for crucial films such as "Antonio das Mortes" by Glauber Rocha, "Easy rider" by Dennis Hopper, "If" by Lindsay Anderson, followed by passionate debates coordinated by the critic Giulio Cesare Castello. It is an opportunity to discover a new cinema and the purely mundane evenings become the subject of protests, until the final cancellation in '71.

​Also in Taormina things were destined to change: in 1969 the festival was renamed "Review for international cinematographic cooperation" with the aim of promoting a cinema with cultural depth and social relevance. And in the 1970s the competitive section of the Review was launched, the "Festival of Nations"; Golden Cariddi's first winner "Do you kill horses like that?" by Sydney Pollack. The first artistic director of the competitive Festival was Gian Luigi Rondi, only for that year however: the following year he was called to direct the Venice Exhibition (and there will be an encore); the direction was thus entrusted to Guglielmo Biraghi, who influenced - reserving the competition, named since 1981 "Taormina International Film Festival", in films first and second films as well as, from 1987 to the new expressive trends of contemporary cinema - in a decisive manner the cultural choices of the Exhibition for almost twenty years, until the end of the Eighties, when he too was called to Venice, while Rondi returned to Taormina for a short period. The history of Taormina is often intertwined with that of Venice: the Sicilian Review is considered in second place, in importance, among the Italian Festivals, immediately after the Exhibition. Three of his artistic directors - Rondi, Biraghi, Laudadio - have directed, at different times, both Festivals. And in the period in which the competition was suspended in Venice it was assumed that Taormina could have become the "Venice of the South", the most important national cinematographic festival, with the added touch of glamor of the coveted live television (broadcast regularly, except for the one of 1966, canceled in extremis among the controversies) of the "night of the stars", conducted by great "veterans" of the television screen as Lello Bersani, Mike Bongiorno and Pippo Baudo. If sometimes that of Taormina risked being considered the "festival of umbrellas", instead, year after year, thanks to the "Festival of Nations", it managed to attract attention to films and important authors such as - in addition to the aforementioned Woody Allen - Steven Spielberg ("Duel"), Alexander Jodorowsky ("The sacred mountain"), Theo Anghelopoulos ("La recita"). The German "new wave" of the "Neuer Deutscher Film" also came, with the first films by Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Wim Wenders, Werner Herzog, Werner Schroeter. And in two "historic" editions - in 1975 with the victory of "Sunday too far away" by Ken Hannan and in 1976 of "Picnic at Hanging Rock" by Peter Weir (who in 1979 will receive the special Charybdis for the tenth anniversary of Festival of Nations) - the then unknown Australian cinematography was revealed, not only in Italy. A bond reiterated by a rich retrospective in the 87 proposal together with the Australian Film Commission.
As a prize to the winners of the Festival, the mythological figure of "Charybdis" was chosen, the disturbing creature that drew from the Sicilian shore those who had to cross the Strait, connected to Scilla, on the Calabrian shore. A prize of mythological derivation also from the best performers: the "Mask of Polyphemus".
The prizes of the "Charybdis" became more and more remarkable, as well as the programming of the out-of-competition films of the "New Film Week", signed by authors such as Pier Paolo Pasolini, Dusan Makavejev, Derek Jarman up to the "scandal" of 1976, '"Empire of the senses" by Nagisa Oshima.
From '68 onwards, the divinity also made its changes felt: here came the stars of the "new american cinema", like Warren Beatty, Robert Altman, Jack Nicholson, the Jodie Foster of "Taxi Driver", still almost a child, just more great by Tatum O'Neal. And the host of non-Hollywood presences grew, such as the actresses Vanessa Redgrave (who arrived with Franco Nero), Ingrid Thulin, Liv Ullmann, Verushka, Romy Schneider, and the directors Agnès Varda, Margarethe von Trotta and Jane Campion. The organizational crisis was completely unexpected in 1978 and then in 1979, when even the competitive festival did not take place and even the David di Donatello were delivered elsewhere. In Taormina the current Palazzo dei Congressi had not yet been inaugurated and there was no valid alternative venue for projections, except for the Ancient Theater. On the one hand, attempts were made to overcome the stalemate with a return to the past, hosting in the 1980s - for the last time - the David again, in an important evening because monopolized, more than by the actors, by authors of the caliber of Andrej Tarkovskij , Rainer Werner Fassbinder, John Schlesinger and Marco Bellocchio.

​However, in that moment of crisis the criteria of a turning point were outlined, with the creation of "Taormina Arte" - as a model of connection of all the cinematographic, theatrical, musical, dance, figurative arts and video events - while in the '81 the "Festival of Nations" took the name of "Taormina International Film Festival", always led by Biraghi and intended for first or second films. Next to the competition was the "Week of American cinema", coordinated by Mario Natale, with the aim of presenting a "showcase" of "made in USA" or more commercial films to satisfy the great audience of the Ancient Theater. Later, Enrico Ghezzi would have called it "Cinema to Come". Here, more than one film destined to break the box office - "007 - Bersaglio movabile", "Cercasi Susan desperately", "Pretty Woman", "Thelma & Louise", "Basic Instinct", "Pulp Fiction", "Il corvo "And so on - he had the first positive Italian test in Taormina.
​And once again the aim was to create a "Festival for the cinema", bringing together the different souls of the big screen, inviting Gérard Depardieu, Robert Duvall, Ben Gazzara, Greta Scacchi, Kathleen Turner, Gabriel Byrne, Susan Sarandon, even Steven Seagal and Kelly LeBrock, and at the same time "old Hollywood glories" like Esther Williams, Glenn Ford, Cyd Charisse. It was the phase of uncertainty in the late eighties, immortalized in the film "Private Visions", with the collective direction of Francesco Calogero, Ninni Bruschetta and Donald Ranvaud, shot during the 88 edition: a comedy that ironizes precisely on life of a film festival. At the end of the eighties the festival could also begin to reap the benefits of an in-depth study of the cinematographic phenomenon, often self-managed by film clubs or spontaneous groups of cinephiles, in any case very lively. The debates on Marilyn Monroe, Alfred Hitchcock, Joseph Losey, Roger Corman remain among the examples of that decade; the rediscovery of director Febo Mari; and finally the publication of the first volumes under the aegis of "Taormina Arte": "Brian De Palma - The ghost of the film library", "The last wave - Images of Australian cinema of the 70s and 80s", "Peter Weir - A cinema lived dangerously "," Genre: female - Directors and screenwriters in classic American cinema ", edited respectively by Carmelo Marabello, Ninni Panzera, Filippo D'Angelo and Piera Detassis. A complex legacy collected in 1991 - after two transition editions again directed by Rondi - from the artistic direction of Enrico Ghezzi, strongly desired by the base of cinephiles. In eight years of work, Ghezzi has transferred his “blobbed” itineraries made of “splinters”, “comet tails”, tributes, multimedia, unacknowledged filmmakers, great masters, cartoons to the halls of the finally inaugurated Palazzo dei Congressi and the Ancient Theater. , documents, videos, working copies. Years often difficult, due to recurrent financial hardships, but in which Taormina has rediscovered the taste of revealing important emerging directors with their “Charybdis”, ahead of the other Festivals. To give some examples: in 1991 the "Cariddi d'oro" went to Mike Leigh with "Life is sweet" (the jury was chaired by the dean Jean Negulesco) and in competition there was also "Riff Raff" by Ken Loach ; in 92 Mohsen Makhmalbaf with "Ruzi ruzegari cinema" (president Samuel Fuller) prevailed, among others, on Claude Chabrol; in '93 the jury led by Robert Parrish awarded "Sonatine" by Takeshi Kitano, preferring it to "El mariachi" by Robert Rodriguez, "Calendar" by Atom Egoyan, "Petrified Garden" by Amos Gitai. In the setting desired by Ghezzi, the competition was only one aspect of the much more complex festival structure, in which targeted projects and impromptu intuitions have gradually found their place: from a performance by Franco Battiato to the raids by Piero Chiambretti, from the proposals of Tatti Sanguineti to dialogues with the protagonists of the cinema, even when they did not have a new film to propose. Even when the Taormina Festival was forced to very small editions, first in 1995 and then even transferred at the end of December in 1996 (the only edition in late autumn), there were plenty of exciting opportunities: the lack of a summer festival in '96, for example, it was transformed into a sort of gathering of the general states of Italian cinema, a megaconvegno attended by Marco Ferreri, Bernardo Bertolucci, Mario Martone, Dario and Asia Argento, Laura Betti and many other old and new personalities of our cinematography. And on the return to normality, in 1997, the president of the jury Michael Cimino proudly announced that for the first time a documentary, "The Saltmen of Tibet" by Ulrike Koch, was the winner of the "Cariddi d'oro", in a competition without distinction between fiction and non-fiction, anticipating a trend then consolidated in other international events. Thus, even with Ghezzi, Taormina continued to be an almost metaphysical oasis, a place of spontaneous, animated crossings - quoting in bulk - from John Malkovich, Aki Kaurismaki, Quentin Tarantino, John Boorman, Jane Birkin, Abbas Kiarostami, Francesca Neri , Ciprì and Maresco, Monica Bellucci. Until Matt Dillon, called in 1998 to return to give "chills" Hollywood, actually more interested in meeting, in the quiet of the Hotel San Domenico, Barry Gifford, the writer of "Wild Heart", to design "City of Ghosts" , directorial debut of Dillon: the umpteenth creation conceived in Taormina. From 1999 to 2006 it was up to Felice Laudadio the task of leaving the imprint of her artistic direction on the "Taormina FilmFest", so renamed by him. In '99 the "Ciak d'oro" - for one time in the Pearl of the Ionian Sea - had the task of recreating the "night of the stars" but the bad weather (a more unique than rare event) prevented the ceremony in the Ancient Theater, forcing Simona Ventura to present her at the Palacongressi.

​In his first year Laudadio confirmed the consolidated scheme, with evening screenings referring to the Ancient Theater, naming the "Grande cinema" section, and with the section of the films in competition. Except then opt from 2000 for the abolition of the competition, launching the "Made in English" formula, intended for films in English, and establishing a new recognition, the "Taormina Arte Diamond Award", awarded to personalities like Norman Jewison, Melanie Griffith, Tonino Guerra, Liam Neeson, Miriam Makeba and many others. One of the most intense moments of the entire festival history, the first edition of the new millennium was the presence of Tom Cruise, who arrived by helicopter with director John Woo for the European launch of "Mission: impossible 2". In 2001 of absolute emotional impact was the projection of "Apocalypse Now", finally integral, presented by the director of photography Vittorio Storaro: while the images of the masterpiece by Francis Ford Coppola flowed on the big screen of the Ancient Theater, in the background the eruption of Etna completed a unique natural spectacle. And equally volcanic he tried to be Laudadio in his years at the helm, varying the formula several times in an attempt to keep up with the increasingly accelerated times of globalization. For example, accepting and stimulating the advent of sponsors, to the point of arriving at the name of "Taormina BNL FilmFest". No competition, but many prizes in the spirit of esteem for great personalities to whom the "Taormina Arte Award for Cinematic Excellence" will be given, accompanied by the applause of the audience of the Ancient Theater, which went to Robert Duvall, Joel Schumacher, Miklos Jancso among others , Marisa Paredes, Ornella Muti, Mariangela Melato, Michael Douglas, Antonio Banderas, Judi Dench, Virna Lisi, Victoria Abril, Malcolm McDowell, Hugh Hudson, Irene Papas, Bob Rafelson, Andie MacDowell. In 2003 Nino Manfredi, always a great friend of the Festival, having also married the local Erminia Ferrari, took the award from the cinema teacher Gillo Pontecorvo and wanted to show his happiness - in what would have been his farewell to the public - by improvising a ballet on the stage. And the name of Nino Manfredi is still dear to Taormina thanks to the prize named after him which is delivered in the Ancient Theater during the ceremony of the Silver Ribbons. The vitality of the event was demonstrated with yet another change of skin: in 2007 the artistic direction was entrusted to the American journalist Deborah Young, who established a double record: she is the first woman to conduct the Review and is the first (so far the only one) not Italian. In the editions she directed until 2011 Deborah Young followed a very precise guideline: to give an identity to the FilmFest in the sign of the Mediterranean centrality of Taormina and Sicily, bringing the competition back, but destined only to films from Mediterranean countries. And, year after year, a special section has been dedicated to every cinematography in the Mediterranean countries: Egypt, Turkey, France (in 2009 with a refined quartet of transalpine divas: Catherine Deneuve, Dominique Sanda, Fanny Ardant and Barbara Bouchet), Spain, up to the Maghreb countries. Of course, without forgetting the needs of the Ancient Theater, where blockbusters made in the USA were not lacking, from "Transformers" to "Toy Story 3", which made the goggles necessary for 3D viewing debut in the Greek-Roman monument. Under the management of Deborah Young, the Campus was created for students who crowded the spaces of the FilmFest to follow the "Film Lessons" of famous protagonists of the big screen. Two names above all: Robert De Niro and Oliver Stone.

​From 2012 to 2016 the editions of the Taormina FilmFest were entrusted to Tiziana Rocca as general manager, flanked in the selection of the films first by Mario Sesti and then by Jacopo Mosca and Chiara Nicoletti. Great attention to the presence of remarkable guests of honor: from Sophia Loren to Claudia Cardinale, from Giuseppe Tornatore to Monica Guerritore, from Russell Crowe to Terry Gilliam, from Meg Ryan to Jeremy Irons, from Paola Cortellesi to Sergio Castellitto, from Ornella Muti to Carlo Verdone and so on up to Richard Gere and Susan Sarandon, not only of the big screen but also of the TV (the "Beautiful" Ronn Moss, the "Grey's Anatomy" Ellen Pompeo), with a shrewd selection of screenings at the Ancient Theater for satisfy the general public, but also effective "Taoclass" for meetings, as well as with the already mentioned ones, also with Patricia Arquette fresh from Oscar, Marco Bellocchio, Harvey Keitel, Thierry Frémaux, Oliver Stone, Jeremy Renner, Rupert Everett, Claudio Bisio , Fabio De Luigi, Carlo and Enrico Vanzina, up to Giovanna Ralli who in Taormina in 2015 announced her farewell to the scenes. Instead the 2017 edition has seriously run the risk of not taking place, due to problems for the assignment to the winners of the announcement for the organization, between appeals and counter-appeals. But willingly the general secretary of "Taormina Arte" has coordinated an "in house" program, with no screenings at the Ancient Theater, but with four dense days (and even an entire "Notte del cinema") of proposals dedicated to "made" in Sicily ”with Masterclass by actress Isabella Ragonese and directors Fabio Grassadonia and Antonio Piazza, book presentations and many films such as" La prova "by Ninni Bruschetta with Angelo Campolo and" La divina Dolzedia "by Aurelio Grimaldi and Guia Jelo. Since 2018 the organization of the Taormina Film Fest has been entrusted to Videobank - a telecommunications company, leader in Italy and Europe in video broadcasting and satellite uplink services - by Lino Chiechio and Maria Guardia Pappalardo, who bravely launched the 64th edition (despite the strong delay of the official assignment) under the auspicious sign of the splendid image of the poster with Monica Vitti in the film "L'avventura". Under the artistic direction of Silvia Bizio and Gianvito Casadonte - although the festival could only enjoy the Ancient Theater on the final evening and had to be held entirely in the Palazzo dei Congressi - the programmatic lines emerged clearly, starting from the return of the competition with the presence of an all-female jury chaired by Martha De Laurentiis (with Maria Grazia Cucinotta, Eleonora Granata, Donatella Palermo and Adriana Chiesa) up to the possibility of confrontation with cinema personalities such as Richard Dreyfuss, Terry Gilliam, Maria Sole Tognazzi, Monica Guerritore, Sabina Guzzanti, Matthew Modine and Rupert Everett. Everett, on the occasion accompanied by costume designer Maurizio Millenotti, was particularly keen to present his directorial debut film, "The Happy Prince - The Last Portrait of Oscar Wilde" out of competition in Taormina, whose work had been by he himself announced during the 2015 FilmFest: yet another promise kept from Taormina. And now in 2019 another magnificent manifesto, with Stefania Sandrelli and Dominique Sanda in the film "Il conformista" by Bernardo Bertolucci, announces the Taormina Film Fest 65. The winning team does not change: it organizes Videobank, with Bizio and Casadonte conductors, and finally with the certainty of being able to have every evening from 30 June to 6 July the dazzling scenery of the Ancient Theater and to be able to best express the potential of an event that still has a very long and engaging story to tell.

© Reproduction reserved

Franco Cicero

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