Rome film festival unveils full lineup

Comprises eight world, 14 international premieres

ROME -- The Rome International Film Festival unveiled the full lineup for its fourth edition Friday, with a globetrotting 14-film in competition lineup made up entirely of world and international premieres and enough big-name stars to keep the city's paparazzi corps happy.

George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Richard Gere, Helen Mirren, Anthony Hopkins, Monica Bellucci, and Colin Farrell are all among the A-list actors expected to stroll across Rome's red carpet, along with directors including Joel and Ethan Coen and nonfilm personalities including opera singer Andrea Bocelli and author Paulo Coehlo, who will bring his first directorial effort -- "Paulo Coehlo's Experimental Witch" -- to Rome.

The main competition lineup for the Oct. 15-23 event includes 14 films and production or co-production credits from 14 countries. Jason Reitman's "Up in the Air," which stars Clooney, is the lone U.S. film in the main competition and, if it wins, it would make Reitman the first two-time winner in the festival's short history. Reitman's "Juno" took home Rome's main prize two years ago.

But there is no shortage of Hollywood fare elsewhere in the official selection: the Coen brothers' "A Serious Man," Nora Ephron's "Julie & Julia," which stars Streep as Julia Child, and "The City of Your Final Destination" from James Ivory will all unspool out of competition.

Other notable competition films include "Alza la testa" (Lift Your Head) from Italy's Alessandro Angelini, who got his first break in Rome's first edition with the debut of his first feature film, Cedric Kahn's "Les Regrets" (Regrets), "The Last Station" from Germany's Michael Hoffman (which stars Oscar-winner Mirren), and "Qingnian" (Youth) from China's Geng Jun.

All told, the 22 films in the official lineup include eight world premieres and 14 international premieres.

"We got exactly the films we wanted," said Piera Detassis, now in her first year as the festival's sole artistic director.

The festival has also scheduled a series of special tributes, including one to Heath Ledger, with the screening of Terry Gilliam's "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus," Ledger's last film, another for Luciano Salce, who will be honored 20 years after his death with the screening of "L'uomo dalla Bocca Storta" (The Main With the Crooked Mouth), Luciano Emmer with a screening of the 1952 classic "Le Ragazze di Piazza di Spagna" (The Girls of the Spanish Steps), and a special day dedicated to noted Italian film critic Tullio Kezich. Both Emmer and Kezich passed away in recent weeks.

Previously announced are homages to Spaghetti Western icon Sergio Leone, also on the 20th anniversary of his death, and Luigi Zampa.

"One of the things that sets Rome apart from other festivals are the tributes the festival hosts," said Gian Luigi Rondi, the president of the foundation that oversees the festival.
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