Rome fest pauses to mourn accident victims

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ROME -- All events aside from screenings and press briefings at the RomaCinemaFest were postponed or cancelled Tuesday as the inaugural festival paused to mourn the victims of a metro line accident that killed at least one person and injured more than 100.

Festival flags flew at half-mast and the events that did take place proceeded only after a minute of silence in response to the accident, which happened early Tuesday. Authorities in Rome said the accident will be attributed to either mechanical failure or human error.

"The board of the RomaCinemaFest deeply feels the grief of the entire city of Rome," organizers said in a statement canceling activities.

The lack of sidebars and trimmings at the festival appeared to have little effect on attendance, with long lines still forming at ticket counters and screenings, while the common areas of the Renzo Piano-designed Auditorium remained full of movie fans.

The most attention-grabbing screening of the day was Christopher Nolan's "The Prestige," which stars Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale, Michael Caine and Scarlett Johansson. Its main screening was not quite sold out, but the film was greeted enthusiastically by those on hand.

Competition films screening Tuesday were "L'Aria Salata," (The Salty Air) from first-time director Alessandro Angelini, and Laurent Herbiet's "Mon Colonel" (The Colonel).

The world premiere of Guillaume Nicloux' heralded out of competition entry "Le Concile de Pierre" (The Stone Council), starring Monica Bellucci and Catherine Deneuve, also unspooled.
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