'Cholera' breaks out at Rio


Mike Newell's "Love in the Time of Cholera" will make its world premiere at the ninth edition of the Rio International Film Festival, one of Latin America's largest film showcases, festival organizers said Monday.

New Line's "Cholera," based on the novel by Nobel Prize-winning author Gabriel Garcia Marquez, will close the fest, which runs from Sept. 20–Oct. 4.

"Cholera," adapted for the screen by Oscar winner Ronald Harwood ("The Pianist"), chronicles a 50-year love triangle set against the backdrop of turn-of-the-century Colombia. The $50 million production features an international cast that includes Spain's Javier Bardem, Italian actress Giovanna Mezzogiorno, Colombian-born John Leguizamo and U.S. actors Benjamin Bratt and Liev Schreiber.

Newell, Bardem and producers Scott Steindorff and Raul Guterres will attend the closing-night screening.

"Elite Squad," the latest picture from award-winning Brazilian director Jose Padilha, will open the festival, making its first public screening. Zazen Prods., Universal Pictures Brazil and the Weinstein Co. co-produced the film, which tells the true story of two friends who work in a special police unit in Rio de Janeiro.

In all, 300 films from 60 countries will unspool, including Latin America premieres of more than 80 international pictures.

In Premiere Brazil, the festival's only competitive section, 18 features and documentaries will make their debuts.

Additionally, the festival has a special section dedicated to China, this year's guest country. A dozen recent Chinese films will hit the screens, including Zhang Yimou's "Curse of the Golden Flower." Panorama, the world cinema category, offers such international festival favorites as Cristian Mungiu's "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days," Todd Haynes' "I'm Not There," Wes Anderson's "The Darjeeling Limited" and Gus Van Sant's "Paranoid Park."

The festival boasts 20 sections drawing from a wide range of mostly Latin American, European, Asian and American films.

Also a strong draw is the RioMarket, held at the festival's Copacabana Beach pavilion. In addition to its regular offering of screenings and business meetings for industry players, this year the market will host seminars on media convergence and feature an international forum on global piracy issues.