|U.S. director and producer Quentin Tarantino, the jury president of the Venice Film Festival, gestures as he poses during a photocall at the Casino palace in Venice September 1, 2010. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)
by Eric J. Lyman
ROME, Sept. 12 (Xinhua) -- By all rights, the just-concluded Venice Film Festival should enter the history books for featuring one of its strongest lineups ever. But it may be charges of favoritism against filmmaker and jury president Quentin Tarantino that are most remembered.
Sophia Coppola's "Somewhere" won the festival's main prize Saturday, immediately turning heads because of the past romantic links between Tarantino, 47, and the 39-year-old Coppola.
In addition, Spanish civil war drama "A Sad Trumpet Ballad," made by Tarantino's long-time friend Alex de la Iglesia, earned two prizes, including the one for Best Screenplay, despite being almost universally panned by critics, and the jury created a special career prize for director Monte Hellman, Tarantino's mentor.
Meanwhile, Asian films that attracted critical acclaim during the festival were shut out of the prizes. Ditto for homegrown Italian productions.
On Sunday, less than 24 hours after the 11-day festival concluded, Tarantino defended his choices, noting that Coppola's prize was unanimous even though she knew nobody else on the jury, and saying that as a writer he felt that de la Iglesia's film featured the best screenplay.
And regarding Hellman, 78, the oldest director with a film in what the festival said was its youngest in-competition lineup ever, Tarantino scoffed at charges of favoritism.