Rome festival unveils competition lineup

20 films will compete at late October event

ROME -- With six Italian films in competition and a red carpet that one festival official said will be "less red than normal" -- a reference to fewer Hollywood stars -- the third Rome International Film Festival is turning its eyes toward Europe.

Festival organizers announced the bulk of the Oct. 22-31 event's lineup Wednesday, revealing a 20-film competition section heavy on Italian and European fare.

Highlights include Stephan Elliott's examination of class struggle "Easy Virtue," Connie Walter's drama "Shattenwelt" (Long Shadows) and "El Artista" (The Artist), a dark comedy from documentary specialists Gaston Duprat and Mariano Cohn.

Notable local productions in competition include France-Poland-Italy co-production "Resolution 819" -- named for a U.N. resolution about the Balkan conflict -- and Edoardo Winspeare's "Galantuomini," about a judge who returns to his hometown after several years away.

Two other Italians films have the country's film history deep in their DNA.

Competition title "Parlami di me" (Speak to Me About Me) hails from Brando De Sica, the grandson of iconic director Vittorio De Sica, while Maurizio Scaparro's "L'ultimo Pulcinella" (The Last Punchinello), a relationship drama screening out of competition, is based on an unpublished treatment by the late Roberto Rossellini.

"I was pleased to see these Italian titles in the program," festival president Gian Luigi Rondi said. "I never asked any of the artistic directors to favor particular films, but my mission has always been Italian film, and so this pleases me."

Wednesday's briefing opened and closed with government figures stressing the importance of the festival to the city of Rome as well as the surrounding province and region. But five months after the Italian capital elected a new mayor -- one who campaigned in part by criticizing his predecessor as too close to Hollywood -- a number have changes have produced a festival that co-artistic director Teresa Cavina said will see fewer Hollywood stars than in the event's first two editions.

That does not mean it will be devoid of A-list talent, however. Stars scheduled to appear at the festival include Colin Farrell, Ed Harris, Keira Knightly, Edward Norton, Al Pacino and Wim Wenders.

A complete lineup of competition titles follows:

"Aide toi et le ciel t'aidera" (With a Little Help From Yourself), Francois Dupeyron, France
"El artista" (The Artist), Gaston Duprat and Mariano Cohn, Argentina/Italy
"Baksy" (Native Dancer), Guka Omarova, Kazakhstan, Russia/Germany
"Un Barrage contre le Pacifique" (The Sea Wall), Rithy Panh, Cambodia, France/Belgium
"Cliente" (A French Gigolo), Josiane Balasko, France
"A Corte do Norte" (Northern Land), Joao Botelho, Portugal
"Easy Virtue," Stephan Elliott, U.K.
"Galantuomini" Edoardo Winspeare, Italy
"Un gioco da ragazze" (A Game for Girls), Matteo Rovere, Italy
"Good," Vicente Amorim, U.K./Hungary
"Iri," By Zhang Lu, South Korea
"Opium War," Siddiq Barmak, Afghanistan/Japan/South Korea/France
"Parlami di me," Brando De Sica, Italy
"Il passato una terra straniera" (The Past Is a Foreign Land), Daniele Vicari, Italy
"Le Plaisir de chanter" (The Joy of Singing), Ilan Duran Cohen, France
"Pride and Glory," Gavin O'Connor, U.S.
"Resolution 819," Giacomo Battiato, France/Poland/Italy
"Schattenwelt," (Long Shadows), Connie Walter, Germany
"L'uomo che ama" (The Man Who Loves), Maria Sole Tognazzi, Italy
"Serce na dloni" (A Warm Heart), Krzysztof Zanussi, Poland/Ukraine