• In a noted moment of chutzpah the Italian press, led by Paolo Mereghetti (pictured), has been up in arms about the American raid on the most consequential awards at the Venice Biennale with Sofia Coppola winning for “Somewhere” and Monte Hellman for “Road to nowhere.”

    I admit, I knew that neither film was a shoo-in for the top nods, especially with the wealth of prime cinema on the Lido this year. Coppola, who was previously in a relationship with jury president Quentin Tarantino, makes watchable movies but is often afraid of scratching beyond the surface; characters sometimes appear smaller under her microscope. Monte Hellman was an early mentor of Tarantino's (video store geekdom oblige) whose place in cinema history next to Roger Corman is secure--as a cult-movies director.