ROME – Italian erotic film “And They Call it Summer,” which was booed during its screening at the Rome Film Festival, scooped up two prizes at the awards ceremony on Saturday to catcalls from the audience.
Italy’s Paolo Franchi won the best director prize for his steamy tale of a man unable to have sex with the woman he loves but who harbors a passion for prostitutes which strains the couple’s relationship to breaking point.
“It is brave filmmaking, obsessive filmmaking, uncompromising. It will be hated and loved,” said Australian director P.J.Hogan, a member of the international jury at the Eternal City’s seventh edition of the festival.
“This film angered many of us and it angered you. Many of you yelled at the screen during it, but many others stood up and applauded at the end.
“Good or bad, this film got under your skin,” he said.
Best actress went to Isabella Ferrari, who was heckled when she collected her award for her role in the film.
She defended the film as “daring” and its supporters have described it as an Italian version of the critically acclaimed 2011 film “Shame” about a sex addict.
American cult director Larry Clark’s “Marfa Girl” won the top prize at the festival.
“Marfa Girl”, Clark’s latest tale of adolescent passions, sex, drugs after “Kids” and “Ken Park”, beat 14 other films in competition to snap up the Marc Aurelio prize, awarded by a jury led by American movie director Jeff Nichols.
The best actor award went to French actor Jeremie Elkaim for “Hand in the Hand”, a poetic comedy on love and destiny by Valerie Donzelli, whose 2011 film “Declaration of War” did particularly well in France.
The festival was for the first time under the direction of former Venice Film Festival head Marco Muller, who has been criticized for failing to attract Hollywood stars to the festival.