The Italian Almanac

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Maccaroni Western

Quentin Tarantino declared his love for Italy's B-movie 'macaroni westerns' - the crude lower-budget cousins of Sergio Leone's classic spaghetti westerns - in Rome as he unveiled his latest film Django Unchained, inspired by a Sergio Corbucci cult hit of the 1960s. "Macaroni westerns, as we call them in America, are the ones I love the best because of their surrealism and the extremes they present," said the Pulp Fiction director, whose slave revenge story starring Jamie Foxx opens across Italy on January 17.

Tarantino, a self-styled 'super-geek' who is famously obsessed with B-movie lore, also reiterated his devotion to the better-known and more respectable genre of spaghetti westerns like Leone's 'Dollars' trilogy - and Django itself, a mainstream 1966 product starring Franco Nero that inspired a string of zanier unofficial sequels. Tarantino burst onto the scene in 1992 with the bloody thriller Reservoir Dogs, famous for an ear-severing scene that pays homage to a similar stomach-turning part of Corbucci's Django.

Asked who was "the better" of his two idols, the universally acclaimed Leone or the niche "guilty pleasure" Corbucci, he replied: 'It's like a judgment of Solomon. "They're different, Leone was one for epics, gigantic in the aesthetic sense too, while Corbucci is simpler and more prolific".

Sniffed at by critics, he became a cult figure after his death in 1990, a reputation boosted by uber-buff Tarantino, who has given a cameo in Django Unchained to Franco Nero, the 1966 Django. Django Unchained will also feature an original song by iconic Italian film composer Ennio Morricone