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Sean Connery Honored at Rome's First Film Festival


Scottish actor Sean Connery is in Rome to take part in the city's first international film festival. He received the festival's inaugural lifetime achievement award at an opening concert conducted by Italian maestro Riccardo Muti.

For Rome, the festival seems like a return to the era of the city's filmmaking heyday, when the Fellini film La Dolce Vita, epitomized the excesses of the city's elite. Hollywood movie stars in town for the festival include Nicole Kidman, Robert De Niro, Leonardo Di Caprio and Richard Gere. But the star everyone was waiting for was the man who made James Bond 007 famous, Sir Sean Connery.

An opening concert conducted by Italian maestro Riccardo Muti was held Thursday night at Rome's Opera House. The guest of honor was Connery, 76, who was honored with a lifetime achievement award.

Festival President Goffredo Bettini said Connery was recognized for "his fame, popularity and his brilliance." Ursula Andress, who many remember as the first "Bond Girl," was also present.

Andress described Connery as a great actor, a real man, with incredible charm and magnetism.

The festival began Friday with a gala screening of Fur, starring Nicole Kidman and directed by Steven Shainberg. The film is based loosely on the life of controversial American photographer Diane Arbus, seen through her imaginary friendship with a neighbor.

Other movies being shown in the event's premiere section include the new film from Batman Begins director Christopher Nolan, called The Prestige, Mira Nair's The Namesake and Lasse Hallstrom's The Hoax, starring Richard Gere.

During the festival, which runs until October 21, a series of special exhibits are also being staged in Rome, aimed at re-evoking the city's filmmaking past.

Sets of movies have been recreated inside transparent showcases in the streets, like Sergio Leone's, Once Upon A Time in America and Federico Fellini's Amarcord.

Film costumes worn by divas, such as Elizabeth Taylor, Ingrid Bergman and Audrey Hepburn, are on show along the Via Veneto.