Ailing Lumet skips 'Dead'

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Last-minute cancellations left the European premiere of Sidney Lumet's "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead" minus most of its star power Monday, even as the RomaCinemaFest geared up for the arrival of Robert Redford and Tom Cruise.

The festival had announced the participation of Lumet but said Monday that he would be unable to attend because of illness. None of the film's stars — Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ethan Hawke and Marisa Tomei — made the trip, leaving producer Brian Linse to represent it alone.

There has been a smattering of other no-shows over the festival's first days: Art house star Daniel Auteuil left the job of promoting "The Second Wind" to Monica Bellucci on the festival's opening night, and Meryl Streep stayed home, leaving Jake Gyllenhaal and Reese Witherspoon to walk down the red carpet ahead of the Sunday premiere of "Rendition."

But there have been plenty of big names over the festival's first four days — Sophia Loren, Francis Ford Coppola and Cate Blanchett attracted lots of attention — and the festival's star power should return to its normal wattage today, with the arrival of Redford and Cruise for the greatly anticipated world premiere of "Lions for Lambs."

The Redford-helmed film, which features Cruise as a power-hungry senator, will be the most visible feature today, though it already was creating a buzz Monday before the limited press screening that took place late in the evening.

Also on tap for today are the premiere of competition title "Barcelona, a Map" from director Ventura Pons and a midnight screening of Dario Argento's horror flick "The Third Mother" — the final installment in his "Three Mothers" trilogy — for which the festival will switch out the red carpet for a black one.
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