Rome fest's love affair with Hollywood continues


ROME -- With the RomaCinemaFest's in competition lineup hailing from points scattered around the globe, the event's main out of competition strand has a decidedly Hollywood flavor.

The competition section for the sophomore festival includes production or co-production credits from 18 countries among the 14 films scheduled to screen, including 10 world premieres, organizers said Thursday.

Two U.S. films -- Terry George's "Reservation Road" and "Juno" from Jason Reitman -- will be among those challenging for Rome's main Marcus Aurelius prize.

But the 12 film Premiere sidebar includes eight more, not counting "Youth Without Youth" from American director Francis Ford Coppola, which is a German-French-Italian production.

And the out of competition films in the main section include still more U.S. titles, with Robert Redford's directorial effort "Lions for Lambs" and Sidney Lumet's "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead" among the highlights.

Festival organizers said they did not set out to pick films from any particular country.

"We looked for films of a certain quality, and that's what we got," festival co-director Giorgio Gossetti told a packed auditorium at Rome's Parco della Musica after the lineup was announced for the event, which runs Oct. 18-27.

"Lions" -- which stars Redford, alongside Meryl Streep and Tom Cruise, in a story of political intrigue set partially in Afghanistan -- joins "Into the Wild" from Sean Penn, an adaptation of the best-seller from Jon Krakauer about a young man who gives away everything to move to the Alaska wilderness, in the lineup.

"Wild," which will join Coppola's "Youth" in the Premiere section, stars Emile Hirsch in the main role and boasts a supporting cast featuring William Hurt and Vince Vaughn.

Organizers hope Redford, Cruise and Penn will add star power to a red carpet in Rome already expected to feature Coppola, Lumet, Cate Blanchett, Geoffrey Rush, Monica Bellucci, Patti Smith, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ethan Hawke, Marisa Tomei, Colin Firth, Val Kilmer, Matthew Modine, Sophia Loren, Terrence Malick, Jane Fonda, Gerard Depardieu and Bernardo Bertolucci.

Dario Argento will be in town for the European premiere of "La Terza Madre" (The Third Mother), the final film in the "Three Mothers" trilogy, but he won't appear on the red carpet. Organizers said they would roll out a special black carpet to honor the famed Italian horror film director, who also is being feted in Rome with a retrospective that includes the other two films in the trilogy: "Suspiria" and "Inferno."

Among the non-U.S. films in competition are "Barcelona, un mapa" (Barcelona, a Map) from Spain's Ventura Pons, "Ce que mes yeux ont vu" (The Vanishing Point) from France's Laurent De Bartillat, fellow Frenchman Alain Corneau's "Le deuxieme souffle" (Second Wind), "Fugitive Pieces" from Canadian Jeremy Podeswa, "Li Chun" (And the Spring Comes) from China's Chang Wei Gu, and two homegrown products: "L'Uomo Privato" (The Private Man) from Emidio Greco and "La Giusta distanza" (The Right Distance) from Carlo Mazzacurati.

The Premiere sidebar will feature the much-awaited "Silk," an English- and Japanese-language Canada-Italy-Japan co-production from Quebec director Francois Girard. The film, which tells the story of a 19th century silkworm merchant turned smuggler, stars Keira Knightley and Alfred Molina.

Other highlights of the Premiere section include "The Dukes" from Robert Davi, Martin Schmidt and Henry Bean's "Noise," "Enchanted" from Kevin Lima, Julie Taymor's "Across the Universe" and "I Giorni e le Nuvole" (Days and Clouds) from Italian director Silvio Soldini and starring Margherita Buy.

Also announced Thursday was the lineup for the competitive Alice in the City sidebar, Rome's well-regarded event for films aimed at young viewers. Of the 14 films in competition in that event, eight are world premieres. Among the sidebars world premieres are "Have dreams, Will Travel" from Brad Isaacs and starring Kilmer, "Survivre avec le Loups" (Surviving with wolves) from France's Vera Belmont, and "Un Chateau en Espagne" (My Very Best Friend) from Isabelle Doval, also from France.

As previously announced, Loren will appear in the Italian capital to receive a career achievement award and Blanchett will break in the red carpet when she arrives to give a boost to "Elizabeth: The Golden Age." Blanchett will be the second Australian in the Rome event's two editions to open the festival, following in the wake of Nicole Kidman, who opened the festival a year ago with "Fur."

A complete list of RomaCinemaFest films follows:

Premiere selection
"Across the Universe," Julie Taymor, U.K., U.S.
"The Dukes," Robert Davi, U.S.
"Elizabeth: The Golden Age," Shekhar Kapur, U.K., France
"Giorni e nuvole" (Days and clouds), Silvio Soldini, Italy
"Youth Without Youth," Francis Ford Coppola, Germany, Italy, France
"Into the Wild," Sean Penn, U.S.
"Noise," Henry Bean, Martin Schmidt, U.S.
"Rendition," Gavin Hood, U.S.
"Silk," Francois Girard, Canada, Italy, Japan
"Things We Lost in the Fire," Susanne Bier, U.S.

Premiere/Alice in the City events and films
"August Rush," Kirsten Sheridan, U.S.
"Winx -- il film: il segreto del regno perduto," Iginio Straffi, Italy (35-minute preview)
"Enchanted," Kevin Lima, U.S.

Special events
Argento Night: Marathon of the "Three Mothers Trilogy"
Screening of "Suspiria," "Inferno" and the European premiere of "La terza madre" (The Third Mother), Dario Argento, Italy
Homage to Gilles Jacob -- Gilles Jacob presents "Chacun son cinema"

In competition
"Barcelona, un mapa" (Barcelona, a Map), Ventura Pons, Spain
"Caotica Ana" (Chaotic Ana), by Julio Medem, Spain
"Ce que mes yeux ont vu" (The Vanishing Point), Laurent De Bartillat, France
"El pasado" ("The Past") by Hector Babenco (Argentina, Brazil)
"Fugitive Pieces," Jeremy Podeswa, Canada
"Hafez," Abolfazl Jalili, Iran, Japan
"Juno," Jason Reitman, U.S.
"La giusta distanza" (The Right Distance), Carlo Mazzacurati, Italy
"Le deuxieme souffle" (Second Wind), Alain Corneau, France
"Li Chun" (And the Spring Comes), Chang Wei Gu, China
"L'amour cache" (Hidden Love), Alessandro Capone, Luxembourg, Belgium, Italy
"L'uomo privato" (The Private Man), Emidio Greco, Italy
"Mongol," Sergei Bodrov, Russia, Mongolia, Kazakhistan, Germany
"Reservation Road," Terry George, U.S.

Special events, out of competition
"L'abbuffata," Mimmo Calopresti, Italy
"Before the Devil Knows You're Dead," Sidney Lumet, U.S.
"On dirait que ..." (Let's Say), Francoise Maire, France
Tribute to Raul Ruiz -- "La recta provincia," Raul Ruiz, Chile, France
German Days -- "Liebesleben" (Love Life), Maria Schrader, Germany
"Lions for Lambs," Robert Redford, U.S.
Focus India -- "No Smoking ...!" Anurag Kashyap, India

Alice in the City, in competition
"Un Chateau en Espagne" (My Very Best Friend), Isabelle Doval, France
"Have Dreams, Will Travel," Brad Isaacs, U.S.
"Buda Az Sharm Foru Rikht" (Buddha Collapsed Out of Shame), Hana Makhmalbaf, Iran
"And When Did You Last See Your Father?" Anand Tucker, U.K.
"Seachd -- The Inaccessible Pinnacle," Simon Miller, Scotland
"Choose Connor," Luke Eberl, U.S.
"Canvas," Joseph Greco, U.S.
"La tete de maman" (In Mom's Head), Carine Tardieu, France
"La misma luna" (Under the Same Moon), Patricia Riggen, Mexico, U.S.
"Partes Usdas" (Spare Parts), Aaron Fernandez, Mexico, France
"Survivre avec les loups" (Survive With the Wolves), Vera Belmont, France
"September," Peter Carstairs, Australia
"Toku no sora ni keita" (Into the Faraway Sky), Isao Yukisada, Japan
"Noonbushin Narae" (Meet Mr. Daddy), Kwang Su Park, South Korea

Alice in the City, out of competition
"Pride," Sunu Gonera, U.S.
"Il nostro Rwanda," Cristina Comencini and Carlotta Cerquetti, Italy
"Die drei rauber" (The Three Robbers), Hayo Freitag, Germany