Spaghetti Westerns on the menu for Tarantino in Rome
Spaghetti Westerns were the talk of the town in Rome on Friday, Janury 4th as US director Quentin Tarantino arrived to receive a lifetime career prize at the premiere of his latest film "Django Unchained" -- an homage to Italian-made western movies from the 1960s.
Tarantino said "Spaghetti Westerns" by cult directors Sergio Corbucci and Sergio Leone were his favorites because they were so "surreal and extreme".
The title of his latest film is a direct reference to Corbucci's "Django" from 1966 and the lead actor of that original film, Franco Nero, plays a cameo role.
Ennio Morricone, the Oscar-winning composer who came up with the soundtrack to Leone's "Once Upon a Time in the West" starring Clint Eastwood, was due to hand Tarantino his prize at a special ceremony on behalf of the Rome film festival later on Friday.
Corbucci and Leone have both passed away but Nero was expected to attend the Spaghetti Western-themed soiree, along with Corbucci's widow Nori.
Tarantino "is a profoundly American director but at the same time European because his way of linking cinema with its history is both analytical and passionate," said festival director Marco Mueller.
The film tells the story of a bounty hunter (Christoph Waltz) who frees a slave (Jamie Foxx) and partners up with him to liberate his wife (Kerry Washington) from the hands of a fearsome plantation owner (Leonardo DiCaprio).
The film has kicked up a fierce row in the United States, where African-American director Spike Lee said he would not be watching because it would be "disrespectful to my ancestors".
"American Slavery Was Not A Sergio Leone Spaghetti Western. It Was A Holocaust," he said on Twitter.
During his press conference, Tarantino said he would not "waste time" responding to Lee's comments.
The film is coming out in Italy on January 17.