American director Quentin Tarantino has angered the Italian movie industry after calling the country's contemporary cinema "depressing".
The Kill Bill filmmaker is a well-known admirer of Italian cinema in the '60s and '70s, with a particular love of 'spaghetti' westerns and the giallo thriller genre.
Tarantino, whose favourite movie is Sergio Leone's 1969 classic The Good, The Bad + The Ugly, said, "New Italian cinema is just depressing.
"Recent films I've seen are all the same. They talk about boys growing up, or girls growing up, or couples having a crisis, or vacations of the mentally impaired."
Veteran actress Sophia Loren has reportedly hit back, "How dare he talk about Italian cinema when he doesn't know anything about American cinema?"
Elsewhere, daily newspaper L'Unita has called Tarantino "mentally impaired" and not the Italian film industry.