Roman Coppola, Walter Hill in Spotlight at Rome Fest

 

ROME – Roman Coppola’s comedy A Glimpse Into the Mind of Charles Swan III premiered in competition at a suddenly percolating International Rome Film Festival Thursday, while Sylvester Stallone told fans he wanted to make another Rambo film “before he got too old,”

Johnnie To's Du zhan (Drug War) also premiered Thursday, drawing an enthusiastic response from attendees. The film was the second of two surprise competition films added to the lineup.

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Elsewhere, director Water Hill, who a day earlier received the festival’s Maverick Filmmaker honor and who directed Stallone in Bullet to the Head, which premiered at the festival, told attendees of a master class he conducted that he appreciated classic films over contemporary productions.

“There’s so little time at our disposal that I’d rather use it to enjoy the old masters, like [El Cid director] Anthony Mann,” said the 70-year-old Hill, whose films are often seen as old-style Westerns transplanted into contemporary settings. “I’m sure that there are good films being made today, but I may be tool old to appreciate them.”

With Thursday’s packed program following on the heels of the well attended premieres of Bullet to the Head and The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2, respectively, over the previous two nights, interest in the seven-year-old festival appears to be perking up after a slow start. The festival has been conducted this year under a great deal of scrutiny after former Venice chief Marco Mueller was installed as artistic director early in the summer.

Coppola is the son of famed director Francis Ford Coppola, and he last came to the Rome festival in 2007 in connection with his father’s fantasy drama Youth Without Youth. This time, he arrived with his own film, his second feature film effort as a director.

STORY: A Glimpse into the Mind of Charles Swan III: Rome Festival Review

A Glimpse Into the Mind of Charles Swan III -- which stars Charlie Sheen, Jason Schwartzman, Patricia Arquette, and Bill Murray -- tells the story of a graphic designer (Sheen) whose life crumbles after a breakup, and it has already been tapped by some Italian media as a possible contender for some hardware in Rome. If that indeed happens, it will be the second time in three years that a Coppola was honored at a festival Mueller directed: in 2010, Roman Coppola’s sister, Sofia Coppola, won the top prize in Venice, which was headed by Mueller, for Somewhere.

Coppola and Murray were in Rome for the premiere.

The Hollywood Reporter critic Deborah Young was less kind than local critics, calling the film a "surreal fantasy" and “a disconcerting showcase for Charlie Sheen’s comic talents that attempts to exploit widespread public interest in the actor’s colorful, controversial life through winking parallels,” and adding that the film would be of most interest to Sheen’s television fan base.

Stallone one of the biggest names to attend the Rome festival, was greeted enthusiastically on the red carpet the day after receiving an honor from Rome mayor Gianni Alemanno. Stallone, 66, seemed genuinely pleased by the attention in Rome and he told fans he enjoyed revisiting roles that made him famous, like those from the Rocky and Rambo films, and he said he hoped to make another film in the Rambo series, which started with First Blood in 1982, “before I get too old to do it.”

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The Rome festival, which got underway Nov. 9, doesn’t conclude until Saturday. But the National Union of Italian Film Critics (the SNCCI) already announced it would hold a meeting next week to discuss the future of the festival. The Nov. 22 meeting, which will be held at Rome’s Casa del Cinema, will include Mueller and Rome festival President Paolo Ferrari.

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