A lack of consideration for Italian cinema at this year's Rome Film Festival? Director Antonio Monda doesn't back down: "We select only the best, we choose films we are fully convinced of... I am against the Italian quota I see in other festivals, chosing on the basis of the nationality it's bad for Italian cinema. Look at the box office catastrophe! I'd rather bet on films I really believe in. For instance, Francesco Patierno's Naples '44, that we present last year, is about to be released in the US."

There is only one Italian film in the Official Selection (Taviani brothers' Rainbow), two Special Events (Paolo Genovese and the film-opera Nysferatu), and a retrospective on the "Italian School." The 12th Rome Film Festival, directed by Monda for the third year, confirms its guidelines: rigorous choices, films we'll hear about possibly at the Oscars - like last year with Moonlight and Manchester by the Sea - no compulsion for world premieres as the section "Everybody's Talking About It" demonstrates by presenting film that have already been acclaimed in other festivals. The Director, who has just been confirmed for the following three years, comments: "We gave the Festival an identity, we brought American stars to Rome and made some discoveries, such as They Call Me Jeeg that later triumphed at the David di Donatello. When I go to Los Angeles I perceive a new feeling towards the Festival, they see us as something renewed. Continuity works in our favour too, just think of Thierry Frémaux who has been holding his position for fifteen years now."

Piera Detassis, President of the Fondazione Cinema per Roma, thanks the founding members who "in times of cuts, confirmed their funds anyway." Among the institutions, a special thanks went to Istituto Luce Cinecittà who is bringing the restoration of Giuliano Montaldo's Sacco and Vanzetti to the festival. Starting his speech in solidarity with director Sebastian Riso who was recently harmed by a homophobic attach, Monda further comments: "this Festival is different from the others. Last year was an extraordinary edition, but we are ready to do it again. The Opening Film is Scott Cooper's Hostiles, a classic wester à la John Ford, with Rosamund Pike attending the premiere." The promise is of at least of star per day on the red carpet: "The question about the red carpet is one of the two sad questions they always ask me; the other is about the budget, that remains the same: 3.419.000 Euro."

Music will be one recurring theme (Michael Nyman is among the guests, while the line-up also features documentaries on Bob Dylan and Maria Callas). Sport will be another with films like Borg McEnroe, that will be released in Italy by Lucky Red exactly like Steven Soderbergh's Logan Lucky. Restored films include a homage to Totò (Miseria and nobiltà, plus a photo exhibition) and Carlo Verdone's Borotalco, whose screening will be presented by the actor-director and his two leading actors Christian De Sica and Eleonora Giorgi. Actors Renato Carpentieri, Sonia Bergamasco, Fabrizio Gifuni, and Luigi Lo Cascio will take part in a reading marathon of Gianni Amelio's novel "Politeama". On November 4, Paolo Sorrentino will present the Lifetime Achievement Award to David Lynch. Among the "Close Encounters", the most surprising will be that with Nanni Moretti who "has always been a bit cold regarding the Festival, but now he has changed his mind." TV productions will be present with Babylon Berlin, an international coproduction between Sky and Beta based on the bestsellers by Volker Kutscher on police investigator Gereon Rath working in the 1920s Berlin.

Monda underlines the great variety of genres and nationalities, with films coming from 31 countries and 14 world prmeieres. The line-up features films by Kathryn Bigelow, Richard Linklater, Barbara Albert, David Gordon Gree, Sally Potter

Pierra Detassis summarizes the ambitions of the Festival: "We want to bring a festive air by betting on quality, hoping to affect the city, the theatres, and the box office. The bridge between creativity and the industry, which is well represented by the partnership with the MIA produced by ANICA and APT, is maybe more difficult to build, but also more dynamic and lasting. This is our real bet. Without this, the festival would just be a mere party, and we don't want and cannot afford this."


ROMA 2017