Monday, November 14, 2005

Scorsese returns to Morocco for film festival

Martin Scorsese has returned to Morocco to repay a debt by attending the opening of the fifth Marrakech International Film Festival, where he is the star attraction.

The festival is honoring Scorsese with a retrospective of his work, including the two films he shot on location in the Arab kingdom: "The Last Temptation of Christ" and "Kundun."

"I owe a great deal to Morocco, which left a lasting impression on my work and my life," he told the opening-night audience Friday.

Referring indirectly to current political tensions, Scorsese made an impassioned defense of world cinema.

"Now more than ever we need to talk to each other, to listen to each other and understand how we see the world, and cinema is the best medium for doing this," said Scorsese, who will give a master class in filmmaking.

The festival has attracted a fair smattering of European and Asian stars -- Scorsese was introduced to the audience by Catherine Deneuve, while Judi Dench, Terence Stamp, Daniel Day-Lewis, Monica Bellucci, Vincent Cassel and Maggie Cheung either already are in town or are expected shortly. But U.S. representatives are thin on the ground, with Scorsese, Gus Van Sant and Rebecca Miller the most notable attendees.

The festival opened with a screening of Stephen Frears' "Mrs. Henderson Presents" and closes Saturday with Enrico Oldoini's "Thirteen at a Table".


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