Rome fest's focus shifts to the screen

Local media says this year's star power is fading

ROME -- The third edition of the Rome International Film Festival headed into its first weekend with Italian newspapers complaining about the relative lack of star power.

Although Al Pacino, Mickey Rourke, David Cronenberg, Jane Campion, Monica Bellucci, Wim Wenders, Willem Dafoe and Gus Van Sant have all made appearances, the outlook for the coming days pales in comparison with the steady stream of A-list talent during the event's first two editions.

With fewer stars to focus on, the local media is focusing more on the films, which have thus far received mixed reviews from critics. But with barely 20% of the festival's titles screened so far, festivalgoers say the jury is still out on the lineup as a whole.

One part of the festival attracting attention is the International Film Market on the city's Via Veneto, which is at its halfway point. The series of hotels hosting the market have seen a buzz of activity so far, though sellers say worldwide economic concerns are weighing on the actual dealmaking.

The market runs through Sunday, with the festival itself drawing to a close Oct. 31.