Sorrentino citizenship opposed in Rome’s council

Sorrentino to get citizenship on 14 March

The city council's decision to award Paolo Sorrentino, the director of Oscar-winning film La Grande Bellezza, with honorary citizenship of Rome was not unanimous, with 32 votes in favour, two against and five abstentions.

Among the Movimento 5 Stelle (M5S) and centre-right councillors to abstain was Marino's predecessor, former mayor Gianni Alemanno. "Rome is not just nightclubs, drugs and parties – said Roberto Cantiani of the Popolo della Libertà (PdL) – Rome is much more."

The news comes as the date of 14 March is announced for the conferring ceremony, a personal initiative of mayor Ignazio Marino who offered the honour to Sorrentino by telephone after La Grande Bellezza film scooped an Oscar for best foreign language film. Sorrentino gratefully accepted and now Marino is planning a tour of the places immortalised in the film for the occasion.

Sorrentino, who is Neapolitan but is a long-term resident of Piazza Vittorio in Rome, returned home from Los Angeles on 6 March. Two nights earlier his film was screened on Italian television, attracting some nine million viewers.

La Grande Bellezza continues to divide Italians, some of whom liken Sorrentino to a modern-day Fellini, while others suggest that he did the capital few favours and that its success abroad was down to its stunning backdrop: Rome.

The film has even divided Rome's expats, as evidenced in two conflicting reviews for Wanted in Rome.