Revamped Rome film festival ready to roll

Major reworking includes new fest president

ROME -- The public is about to get its first look at the Rome International Film Festival: Version 2.0.

The three-year-old event, which kicks off here Wednesday, underwent a major reworking this year after the election of Mayor Gianni Alemanno, who ran on a platform criticizing the previous mayor's involvement with the event.

In the end, the city's support level remained unchanged, but the festival's president was replaced, and the name of the festival itself -- along with most of its sidebars -- were traded for more Italian-sounding monikers.

The revamped event kicks off with two high-profile opening films: Maria Sole Tognazzi's "L'Uomo che ama" (The Man Who Loves), which will bring star Monica Bellucci to Rome's opening-night red carpet for the second consecutive year, and "Eight," an eight-part project from directors including Jane Campion, Gus Van Sant and Wim Wenders.

Wednesday night also will include a gala Brazil-themed concert in Rome's historic Piazza Navona, which is expected to draw a massive crowd.

The festival gets going in earnest Thursday, with the start of the European-accented competition program.

The festival concludes Oct. 31.