'Historical Center,' From Kaurismäki, de Oliveira to Open CinemaXXI Sidebar at Rome Fest

Getty Images
Manoel de Oliveira

Victor Erice and Pedro Costa also directing parts of the four-part production centered on the Portuguese city of Guimarães.

ROME – The new CinemaXXI Section at the International Rome Film Festival will open with the world premiere of Centro Historico (Historic Center), a new film jointly directed by four veteran directors, organizers announced Thursday, adding that the jury for the sidebar will be headed by Scottish visual artist Douglas Gordon.

CinemaXXI is a new section created by Rome’s first year artistic director Marco Mueller, who came to Rome after eight successful years at the helm of the rival Venice Film Festival. The section focuses on the “exploration of new trends and new languages in international cinema.”

The full lineup for CinemaXXI has not yet been announced, though with the announcement of Centro Historico observers have the first glimpse of what to expect from the sidebar. The film, which is jointly directed by three-time Cannes jury prize winning director Aki Kaurismäki of Finland, 103-year-old Portuguese director Manoel de Oliveira, two-time Cannes Palme d’Or nominee Victor Erice, and Pedro Costa, another Cannes regular.

The film, which was developed for the Guimarães 2012 European Capital of Culture project, tells four separate stories all set in Guimarães, Portugal.

The announcement about CinemaXXI is the second major announcement about the lineup of the seven-year-old Rome festival, which will take place Nov. 7-19. The event previously announced that its Perspectives Italy sidebar would open with the screening of the documentary Carlo!, about Italian comedic actor Carlo Verdone. The jury for that competition will be headed by Italian director Francesco Bruni.

Mueller has promised that Rome’s lineup, which will be announced Oct. 10, will include at least 60 world premieres in the official selection.