An Italian spirit, yes or no?
This was the burning question in the crowded press conference for the third edition of the Film Festival which, for its first “new look” edition, has been transformed into the International Rome Film Festival.
On the one hand, there are 6 Italian titles in competition out of a total of 21 (20 in all counting the titles in all the sections of the event).
The artistic direction coordinator, Piera Detassis, proudly points out that the Festival will open with “L’uomo che ama” by Maria Sole Tognazzi.
“We have been unconventional and broken the unspoken rule that you never open with a national movie”.
On the other hand, president Gianluigi Rondi, says:
“My personal mission has always been focused on the Italian movie industry, but there has never been a concept of Italianness at the heart of this event, which is an international festival.
All the directors have made their choices in a fully autonomous way. In fact, I haven’t seen any of the movies yet”.
The festival directors confirm this.
The bill “complies with the DNA of the previous editions as well as the national presence registered last year, which was more or less the same”, says the director of The Business Street, Giorgio Gosetti. Detassis confirms this: “We paid a lot of attention to the presence of Italian movies albeit following strictly qualitative criteria “”there was just more choice this year”.
In addition to the film that opens the festival, starring Monica Bellucci, Pier Francesco Favino and Ksenia Rappoport, Italy will also be represented by Edoardo Winspeare from Apulia, who brings “Galantuomini” to the official competition section, a blend of melodrama and investigative cinema about a woman who is the clan leader of the Sacra Corona Unita.
She is one of the “domineering women who defeat the men” characteristic of this edition’s bill, according to Piera Detassis.
In fact, several other examples of this species can also be found in “A game for girls”, the debut movie by young film-maker, Matteo Rovere, in which four beautiful, cruel teenagers target an unfortunate professor (Filippo Nigro).
Conversely, in “Il passato è una terra straniera” by Daniele Vicari, the scene is dominated by two men, played by Elio Germano and Michele Riondino: one is a model student, the other a charming swindler.
The “unexpected” Italian titles (most had already been revealed in the weeks preceding the official announcement), include the musical “Parlami di me”, Brando De Sica’s debut movie that brings his father’s stage show to the big screen, and the Italian-French-Polish coproduction directed by Giacomo Battiato, “Resolution 819”, about the UN resolution which led to the incrimination of Karadzic and Mladic.
There is another surprise among the twenty movies presented in competition at the festival and the six movies out of competition, divided into the “Anteprima “” Previews” and “Cinema 2008” sections: four comedies – “not a genre normally considered suitable for festivals”. Making us laugh are “Easy Virtue” by the UK’s Stephan Elliott “” who also directed “Priscilla, queen of the desert” “” and who, with the help of Jessica Biel, Colin Firth and Kristin Scott Thomas, will be bringing a stage play by Noel Coward to the screen, a story about class struggle and the differences between the United States and the UK, and France’s “Parlez-moi de la pluie”, by Agnès Jaoui, in which the director once again acts alongside Jean-Pierre Bacri, in a movie about a feminist who has recently entered politics and is having to deal with the affairs of her mother who died a year earlier.
Also raising a smile are “Si può fare”, in which Giulio Mafredonia transforms Claudio Bisio into the manager of a cooperative looking after crazy people, and Krzysztof Zanussi’s “A Warm Heart”, about a man who needs a heart transplant and meets a suicidal young woman who could “help him out”.
With regard to glamour and celebrities “” a controversial subject during the transition phase between the Bettini era and the Rondi era “” this year “the carpet will be a little less red”, although some important international names will still be seen on the catwalk at the Auditorium: a tribute will be paid to Viggo Mortensen (from “Good” by Vicente Amorum), who will be celebrating his 50th birthday in Rome.
Edward Norton and Colin Farrell, stars of Gavin O’Connor’s detective story, “Pride and Glory” will there, as well as the Germans of “The Baader Meinhof Complex” by Uli Edel “” Martina Gedeck, Moritz Bleibtreu and Alexandra Maria Lara “” and, naturally, Keira Knightley, from the “Duchess” (out of competition) directed by Saul Dibb.