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Italy's Turin Fest to Open With Dustin Hoffman's 'Quartet'; 3 U.S. Films in Main Competition

Quartet Film Still - Dustin Hoffman - H 2012
The Weinstein Co.

Turin artistic director Gianni Amelio took a swipe at the rival Rome Film Festival: "The real filmmakers are with us," he said.

ROME – The Turin Film Festival announced its full lineup Tuesday, highlighted by the screening of Quartet, a story about four retired opera singers and the directorial debut from two-time Oscar-winning actor Dustin Hoffman, while Turin artistic director Gianni Amelio used the lineup announcement as an opportunity to take a swipe at the rival International Rome Film Festival.

Among the other highlights for the 30th edition of the Turin festival: a 16-film competition lineup made up exclusively of first and second films by their directors, including U.S. productions from Dante Ariola, Tim Sutton, and Amy Seimetz; achievement awards to directors Ken Loach and Ettore Scola; and a total of 223 films set to screen at the Nov. 23-Dec. 1 event, including 54 world and international premieres.

Rome's newly-installed artistic director Marco Mueller ruffled feathers in Turin when he pushed the seven-year-old festival’s dates back to November, shortening the gap between the Rome and Turin festivals to just six days. Turin organizers worried the close proximity would limit interest from the media and from sponsors. Officially speaking, the two festivals reached a truce on the topic. But for Amelio, some bad feelings remain.

“I think it’s embarrassing that there are people queuing at the Auditorium Parco della Musica in Rome to see a film that will be shown three days later at all the cinemas in town,” he said.

Amelio said he was “proud” of the festival’s lineup produced with an overall budget of around €2 million ($2.6 million), or around a sixth the budget of Venice or Rome. “The real filmmakers are with us,” he said.

The festival will close with Ginger & Rosa, in 1960s coming-of-age story from U.K. director Sally Potter in the Festa Mobile sidebar, made up of mostly European and Italian premiers, including Anna Karenina, Joe Wright’s adaptation of the Leo Tolstoy classic that stars Keira Knightley and Jude Law; Loach’s comedy The Angels’ Share; A Liar’s Autobiography – the Untrue Story of Monty Python’s Graham Chapman, an animated comedy from Bill Jones, Jeff Simpson, and Ben Timlett; Jonatan Dayton and Valerie Faris’ romantic comedy Ruby Sparks; The Sessions, a story about an man on an iron lung who wishes to lose his virginity written and directed by Ben Lewin; and Hoffman’s Quartet.

The in-competition selection includes Shell, the first feature-length effort from U.K. director Scott Graham; Present Tense, the story of an unemployed Turkish women seeking to escape to the U.S. from Turkish director Belmin Soylemez; Noi Non Siamo Come James Bond (We Aren’t Like James Bond), a documentary from Italy’s Mario Balsamo; The Liability, a thriller from U.K. director Craig Viveiros; Am Himmel Der Tag (Breaking Horizon), an exploration of 20-something angst from Germany’s Pola Beck; and Indian director Kamal K.M.’s I.D., a poetic look at a laborer’s idea of painting a wall at home.

The U.S. productions in competition are Ariola’s Arthur Newman, which stars Emily Blunt and Colin Firth in a love story about two people trying to forget their pasts; Sutton’s Pavilion, an exploration of adolescent friendships; and Sun Don’t Shine from Seimetz, the story about a couple’s revealing and mysterious road trip through central Florida.

The lineup was announced first in Rome, and then a few hours later in Turin, 450 miles to the north.