Almodovar defends Italian Cinema from Tarantino
Spanish director Pedro Almodovar hit back at Quentin Tarantino’s criticism of Italian cinema Thursday, claiming the Pulp Fiction maker suffers from “verbal incontinence”.
Tarantino said he was “appalled” at the current state of Italian cinema at the Cannes Film Festival last month.
“Quentin is a good director, a passionate cinema enthusiast and great expert on all the world’s trash,” said Almodovar.
“But you shouldn’t take his comments too seriously because he suffers from a form of verbal incontinence and he is nostalgic for the Italian cinema of (Umberto) Lenzi, (Mario) Bava and (Lucio) Fulci.
“I don’t think he was comparing the best auteur cinema of yesterday and today. I doubt he had the cinema of Luchino Visconti, Pietro Germi and Pier Paolo Pasolini in mind.
“And I don’t think he knows Italy’s auteur filmmakers of today”.
Almodovar, who has won Academy Awards for Talk to Her (best screenplay, 2003) and All About My Mother (best foreign film, 2000), was speaking at a ceremony at which Culture Minister Francesco Rutelli made him a ‘Commendatore’, one of Italy’s top honours.
The director will also be awarded the best European film prize Thursday at the 2007 David di Donatello awards - Italy’s Oscars - for Volver.
“There are only two countries where I don’t have to explain what putting passion into your cinema means - Spain and Italy,” he added.
“These are cultures where emotion, instinct and the art of getting by and suffering to express talent are part of the national DNA”.
Almodovar paid tribute to the influence Italian movies had had on his career too.
“When I went to the cinema as a child in the 1950s I was most attracted to the films that portrayed real life honestly, without filters of form and style,” he said.
“This is the recipe of the best Italian cinema. I tried to take inspiration from that lesson, putting heart and brains to the fore, like (Federico) Fellini, for example”.
Tarantino also acknowledged Italian cinema as one of his main sources of inspiration - particularly in B-movie directors like Bava - before blasting its current state at Cannes.
“I really loved the Italian movies of the 1960s and 1970s. What happened? It’s a real tragedy,” the American director said.
“The (Italian) films I’ve seen over the last few years all seem the same. All they talk about is boys growing up, girls growing up, couples in crisis and holidays for the mentally disabled”.
Tarantino’s outburst also earned him a rebuke from Italian film diva Sophia Loren.
“How dare he talk about Italian cinema when he doesn’t even know anything about American cinema,” the 73-year-old said.
Tarantino will be a guest at this year’s Venice Film Festival in September, where he will present his favourite spaghetti westerns.