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Last Updated: Monday, 1 September, 2003, 09:37 GMT 10:37 UK
Murray comedy is Venice hit
Scarlett Johansson, Bill Murray and Sofia Coppola
Murray arrived with co-star Scarlett Johansson (left) and director Sofia Coppola
Comedian Bill Murray's new film has become one of the most talked-about films of the festival so far.

Lost In Translation, directed by Sofia Coppola, was described by one American critic as "the best movie I've seen yet" at this year's festival after being premièred at the event.

Murray, 52, said: "These are some of the most satisfying laughs I've ever got in the movies," during a trip to the prestigious gathering.

Lost In Translation is a romantic comedy about a failed actor who films a commercial in Tokyo.

Murray's character, trapped in Tokyo and unable to speak Japanese, gradually forms a close relationship with another Westerner staying at his hotel.

'Murray in mind'

But despite its critical acclaim, it is not being considered for the festival's main prize, the Golden Lion.

Director Coppola, said that when she was writing the film "I had Bill Murray in mind.

Sylvester Stallone
Stallone's bodyguard was involved in a festival scuffle

"I sent him pages as I finished them and after many months of leaving messages, he finally agreed to meet with me," she said.

She joked she had to bribe Murray with "caviar and champagne" before he would accept the part.

Coppola said she based the film, which was entirely shot in Japan, on her own experiences in the country.

Murray has enjoyed past success in films such as Ghostbusters and The Royal Tenenbaums.

Meanwhile, a journalist knocked to the ground after a scuffle with Sylvester Stallone's bodyguard on Friday has described how the Hollywood actor came to his rescue.

Sharif honoured

"The bodyguard threw me to the ground with a karate chop," said Tonino Pinto, 64, a TV journalist.

"Other colleagues who were there protested, the guards tried to pull me away, but Stallone himself intervened quickly to help, and apologised," said Mr Pinto.

The reporter was taken to hospital and treated for cuts and bruises.

The 60th festival also honoured Egyptian-born actor Omar Sharif with a Golden Lion award for his career, which has included films such as Dr Zhivago and Lawrence of Arabia.

Sharif, 71, was at the festival to present his latest film, Monsieur Ibrahim.

In an interview with an Italian newspaper on Saturday, Sharif said he was pessimistic about the state of the world.

"There is this terrible disparity between the rich and the poor that generates violence, creates differences, sows hate," he said.


SEE ALSO:
Allen launches Venice festival
28 Aug 03  |  Entertainment
Venice gets saucy at 60
26 Aug 03  |  Entertainment
Italian film makes waves
27 Aug 03  |  Entertainment
Venice prepares for film invasion
26 Aug 03  |  Entertainment
Venice film prize favours Europe
31 Jul 03  |  Entertainment


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