2008-02-15 12:50:07 UTC
Staff and agencies
Thursday February 14, 2008
Stand-up guy ... Nanni Moretti. Photograph: Eamonn McCabe
Italian film-maker Nanni Moretti has moved to defuse criticisms from the Roman Catholic church over a sexually explicit scene in his latest picture. Moretti's role in the drama Caoi Calmo (Quiet Chaos) has been described as "vulgar and destructive" by a representative of the church, sparking a media storm in his homeland.
Speaking at the Berlin film festival yesterday, Moretti admitted that it was no surprise that some of the more conservative elements of Italian society would take such a view of the film. "What is new is the commotion that all this has caused in our country in the world of politics and the media," he said.
Based on a best-selling novel and directed by Anotello Grimaldi, Caoi Calmo stars Moretti as a TV executive who saves a woman from drowning. Following the sudden death of his wife, the character re-encounters the woman he saved and the pair have sex. According to reports, the resulting scene lasts for several minutes.
"The two actors make love standing, with their clothes on, without looking at each other," complained Nicolo Anselmi, a priest in charge of the youth ministry for the Italian Bishops' Conference. He added that he would have wanted the scene to be more romantic, perhaps even resulting in the birth of a child.
"It would be good if some of these professional actors started to be conscientious objectors and refused to shoot erotic scenes that are vulgar and destructive," he concluded.
One of the country's most high-profile film-makers, Moretti won the 2001 Palme d'Or at the Cannes film festival for The Son's Room. His last film, The Caiman, provoked controversy within Italy for its satirical portrait of the then prime minister Silvio Berlusconi.