No Italian films in Turin lineup

Competition heavy on European, U.S. titles

ROME -- The 26th Turin Film Festival on Friday released a lineup completely void of Italian films but heavy on U.S. and European productions.

Second-year artistic director Nanni Moretti -- who revealed the lineup to a packed house at the Nuovo Sacher, the Rome cinema he owns -- did his best to avoid comparisons to the just-completed Rome International Film Festival, but the Italian press is sure to highlight the differences.

The Rome event was criticized for a lineup that in many ways was a photo negative of the program Moretti released Friday, with six Italian films featured and just one from the U.S.

Moretti said that the U.S. writers' strike, which had an impact on the lineups in Venice, Rome and elsewhere, also played a role in shaping Turin's lineup. Though three of the 15 films in the lineup have American DNA, all are low-budget affairs: Azazel Jacobs' "Momma's Man," "The New Year Parade" from Tom Quinn and Sean Baker's "Prince of Broadway."

The absence of Italian productions is the lineup's most notable trait, however. Moretti, a noted Italian auteur, denied trying to make a statement by eschewing local productions. He said there were simply none that reached the level of the 15 films selected.

Among the lineup's other highlights are "Bitter & Twisted" from Australia's Christopher Weekes, "Dixia de Tainkong" (The Shaft) from Chinese director Chi Zhang, and Joe Lawlor and Christine Mollowy's missing person drama "Helen."

As previously announced, the festival will open with the Italian premiere of Oliver Stone's presidential satire "W," and the out-of-competition lineup will include Bill Maher and Larry Charles' anti-religion documentary "Religulous," John Maybury's romantic drama "The Edge of Love," "Er shi si cheng ji" (24 City) from Jia Zhang Ke and Madonna's directorial debut, "Filth and Wisdom."

The full competition lineup follows:

"Bitter & Twisted," Christopher Weekes, Australia
"Demain," Maxime Giroux, Canada
"Dixia De Tiankong" (The Shaft), Chi Zhang, China
"Donne-Moi La Main," Pascal-Alex Vincent, France/Germany
"Entre os Dedos," Tiago Guedes and Frederico Serra, Portugal/Brazil
"Helen," Joe Lawlor and Christine Mollowy, Ireland/U.K.
"Mein Freund Aus Faro," Nana Neul, Germany
"Momma's Man," Azazel Jacobs, U.S.
"The New Year Parade," Tom Quinn, U.S.
"Nikoli Nisva Sla v Benekte" (We've Never Been To Venice), Blaz Kutin, Slovenia
"Non-Dit," Fien Troch, Belgium
"Prince Of Broadway," Sean Baker, U.S.
"Quemar Las Naves," Francisco Franco, Mexico
"Tony Manero," Pablo Larrain, Chile/Brazil
"Die Welle," Dennis Gansel, Germany