The International Rome Film Festival is changing direction.
The fourth edition, to be held from October 15th “” 23rd, will be the first under the aegis of the sole superdirector, Piera Detassis who, in the past, was responsible for the now defunct Anteprima/ Première section which has been merged into a single official selection mixing pop and austerity, glamour and arthouse movies.
“This is a real process of osmosis between the former two Première and Competition sections”, explains the director, “that intentionally confuses both to avoid any separation”.
This decision will have a profound effect on the identity of the event which was set up in 2006 as a “Festival” dedicated first and foremost to the public, who were to be provided with a sparkling red carpet of international stars and the chance to play an important role in assigning the various awards.
Today, things are very different: with a heavyweight president of the jury like Milos Forman (accompanied by Assia Djebar, Gabriele Muccino, Gae Aulenti, Jean-Loup Dabadie, Pavel Lungin and Senta Berger) and four Marc’Aurelio awards assigned by the jury versus just one chosen by the public with a “scratch and vote” card, the tables have been turned and Roman audiences now find themselves playing a lesser role.
After viewing around 800 movies, Detassis, along with Fabia Bettini, Alessandra De Luca and Fabrizio Grosoli, ended up selecting “a group of titles and events with a strong female slant: Margherita Buy opens the event, Meryl Streep closes it, and it will feature the directing debut of Stefania Sandrelli, out of competition with “˜Christine Cristina’.
“There will be some important female stories and roles”, continues the director, “as well as hard hitting themes such as racism, the totalitarian past, the return to spirituality, the relationship between wealth and poverty and the presence of “˜crisis’ comedy as a counterpoint to the crisis in comedy”.
The selection confirms the female trend and includes the Italian “Viola di mare”, by Donatella Maiorca, about a lesbian love story between Valeria Solarino and Isabella Ragonese, “Vision” by Margarethe Von Trotta, in which the descendent of a noble German family has to cope with extraordinary visionary powers, and “Julie & Julia” (out of competition) by Nora Ephron, starring Meryl Streep.
The latter is one of the representatives of the “Charge of the Sixties” which does not refer to the 1960s, but to the sixty-year olds who will be on parade at the Roman festival: from Richard Gere to Stefania Sandrelli, to Von Trotta herself”.
Oscar winner Denis Tanovic will be opening the Festival with “Triage”, in which Colin Farrell and Paz Vega cope with post-war trauma.
Of particular note are the returns of James Ivory (with “The City of Your Final Destination”, based on Peter Cameron’s novel of the same name), Radu Mihaileanu (with “Le Concert”) and Carlos Saura (with “Io, Don Giovanni”), as well as the previously announced Italian movies. These include “Alza la testa” by Alessandro Angelini, whose wonderful “L’aria salata” was shown previously in Rome, and “L’uomo che verrà “, the long-awaited second movie by Giorgio Diritti, following on from “Il vento fa il suo giro”: here the director, who refused to open the Orizzonti section in Venice in order to be in the capital, tackles the Marzabotto massacre.
There is another refusal, this time favoring the “out of competition” section over the competition itself, by the Coen brothers, who will be presenting “A Serious Man” without the stress of a competition. The big stars will be out in force thanks to “The Last Station”, for which director Michael Hoffman called upon the outstanding talent of Helen Mirren and the excellent young James McAvoy and, “Up in the Air”, a story about a headhunter who can no longer stand the stress and decides to give it all up.
He is played by George Clooney, directed by the same Jason Reitman who won the Rome Festival two years ago with “Juno”.
It is easy to predict a full house for this screening (and, especially, the relevant red carpet moment).
The same goes for the teenager event dedicated to the second chapter in the “Twilight” saga. Finally, there will be a tribute to the late Heath Ledger, with the Italian premiere of “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” and tributes to Rome (thanks to Franco Zeffirelli) and Luciano Emmer