The International Rome Film Festival is five years old.
From October 28th to November 5th, the 13 and a half million Euro “˜machine’ (around 70% of which is self-financed, with 160 sponsors) will start up once again, bringing films, meetings, shows and events to the capital that will radiate from the Auditorium Parco della Musica, the pulsating heart of the festival, to venues all around the city.
The opening evening is devoted to the “˜contemporary romanticism’ of the film “Last Night” by Massy Tadjedin, starring Keira Knightley and Eva Mendes, and a special screening of “Winx” in 3D, confirming the festival’s popular vocation (in fact, 42% of the visitors are members of the trade and 58% are movie enthusiasts).
A vocation that has always underlined the difference between this festival, originally the “˜Rome Festival’, and the Venice Film Festival from which, this year, it has also moved away in terms of the timing. However, both festivals have one thing in common in 2010: young film-makers.
“The average age has gone down a lot”, explains the director, Piera Detassis, “and there are lots of first and second works, even in competition”.
But the Rome Film Festival also has more independent movies.
“The choice of a young godmother like Valeria Solarino“, explains De Tassis, “and the decision to assign the Acting Award to a true Indie star like Julianne Moore, should be viewed in this context.”
Detassis offers more details about the event, listing the movies that “people will talk about because of the strong themes involved, a sign of the great attention paid to topical subjects: from the scandal of the British children deported to Australia in “Oranges and Sunshine” by Jim Loach, Ken’s son, to the Chinese “Bei Mian”, that portrays the totalitarianism of the cultural revolution through the innovative interweaving of horror and body art; from the black and white of “Kill me please”, which manages to make us laugh about euthanasia, to a “˜clandestine’ view of Iran in “Dog Sweat” by the Iranian Hosein Keshavarz.”
A substantial amount of space has been given over to Japan (with a Focus, 2 films out of competition and the retrospective dedicated to the Ghibli Animation Studio, founded by Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata) and Australian New Wave (with 6 films), one of the followers of which, David Michod, will be presenting, out of competition, his brilliant debut movie “Animal Kingdom”, the winner of Sundance 2010.
Describing the Festival as an event that looks to faraway places, the multicultural world and our relationships with foreigners, Detassis illustrates how this trend strongly emerges from the Italian titles featured, starting with “Il Padre e lo Straniero” [The Father and the Foreigner] by Ricky Tognazzi (out of competition):
“When we realized that 3 out of the 4 Italian movies in competition practically spoke no Italian we jokingly coined the expression “˜2010. Out of Italy'”.
The movies in question are “Gangor”, by Italo Spinelli, an Italian-Indian co-production, entirely filmed in Hindi, “Let it Be” by Guido Chiesa about Mary of Nazareth, filmed in Arabic in Tunisia, with Tunisian actors and some ancient Greek, and “A quiet life” by Claudio Cupellini, set in Germany, with an extraordinary Toni Servillo speaking perfect German.”
Then there is a movie with a high Italian content (the producers, plus the support received from the Roma Lazio Film Commission through the CRC) which the organizers have, therefore, defined as being stateless: “Golakani Kirkuk” by the Kurdish-Iranian director Fariborz Kamkari, the first international coproduction to be made in Iraq.
Other themes dealt with at the festival are education (with “La Scuola è finita” [School’s Out] by Valerio Jalongo, in competition, as well as the documentary “Waiting for Superman” about the US school system in “Alice e la scuola “” Alice nelle Città “) and the family (with the Mexican “Las Buenas Hierbas”, the Australian “Little Sparrows” and “Rabbit Hole” by James Cameron Mitchell, with Nicole Kidman).
An important TV film”” marathon dedicated to the story of an Italian family that falls apart following a bereavement and manages to put itself back together through acceptance and sharing, is the TV series “Le Cose che Restano”, the ideal sequel to “The Best of Youth” (also by Rulli and Petraglia, produced by Barbagallo and directed by Gianluca Tavarelli).
“Le Cose che Restano” is possibly the festival’s most important innovation: the addition of quality TV productions which, as is now well established, can be every bit as good as a great movie.
“For this reason,” continues Detassis, “along with “˜Le Cose che Restano’, we will be presenting, out of competition, 70 minutes of the pilot of the HBO series “Boardwalk Empire”, directed by Martin Scorsese, and the movie version of “Carlos” by Olivier Assayas, that we believe it is important to launch here after the TV series was presented at Cannes.
“Carlos” is part of the “Spettacolo-Eventi Speciali” [Entertainment-Special Events] section, a “line that crosses through all the sections and makes it possible for us to present movies even if they are not premieres as long as they are accompanied by a special event”, explains Detassis, like the meeting attended by the protagonist of “My Name is Khan”, Bollywood star Karan Johar, the presentation of “La Scomparsa di Patò” to school children by Andrea Camilleri, and the short filmed by Fanny Ardant with Rome’s Romany community. “Another sign of the attention paid to the public”, adds Detassis, “is that we will celebrate Halloween with the first twenty minutes of the movie “Dylan Dog” and continue our Vampire tradition (now that we have “˜lost’ “Twilight”) with “Let me in”, out of competition, a remake of “Lasciami entrare”, which is an extraordinary film.
ROMACINEMAFEST/Quality TV on Parade
The International Rome Film Festival is five years old.