Rome's Other sidebar scours globe for films

18 countries represented in the section this year

ROME -- Just weeks after the Rome Film Festival was retooled to have a more Italian feel, the three-year-old event revealed one of its most international sidebar lineups Thursday, with 18 countries represented in the program formerly known as the "Extra" sidebar.

Officially, the sidebar is now called "L'Altro Cinema" (The Other Cinema), a name chosen to reflect the Rome festival's Italian DNA. But the lineup of films and documentaries with what the festival calls a "cutting edge" style is an exercise in virtual globe-hopping.

The Rome festival's new president, Gian Luigi Rondi, stressed that each of the festival's sidebars is completely autonomous, a notion the sidebar's director Mario Sesti stressed in his comments.

"We had very sensitive sensors out as we sought the best projects available, wherever they were from," Sesti said.

Among the Extra highlights are "Heure d'ete" (Summer Hours), a drama from France's Olivier Assayas; "Tres Deseos," Argentineans Marcelo Trotta and Vivian Imar's exploration of an unusual love triangle; Israeli director Tatia Rosenthal's Australian-made philosophical drama "$9.99"; "Baghead," a comedy from New Orleans-based brothers Mark and Jay Duplass; and "Bob Marley -- Exodus '77," a documentary on the legendary singer's life from British director Anthony Wall -- a continuation of Extra's tradition of sprinkling its lineup each year with music-related films.

Previously announced elements of the program include an opening-night homage to Brazilian cinema in Rome's famous Piazza Navona, the presentation of a lifetime achievement award to Al Pacino and workshops hosted by Peter Greenaway and Michael Cimino.