In its fourth year under Antonio Monda’s wing, Rome Film Fest still continues to grow (+20% in admissions and takings) and has become increasingly international, better delineating its identity – both refined and popular – and becoming an important place to share ideas. A place where world film stars come to talk about cinema, not because of film promotion constraints, but simply because they feel like it and want to enjoy the festival. It was on this last point, that the festival’s artistic director, Monda, chose to focus while presenting the programme of the 13th edition today in Rome (18-28 October), where ample space will be dedicated to Incontri ravvicinati (close encounters) with directors, actors and some of the film industry’s greatest personalities (14 in all), now known as the festival’s trademark. Attendees at Rome include Martin Scorsese and Isabelle Huppert, who will both receive career awards, as well as Cate Blanchett, Michael Moore (whose new film about Donald Trump, Farenheit 11/9, will also be screened), Sigourney Weaver, Giuseppe Tornatore, Mario Martone, and the general delegate of Cannes, Thierry Frémaux, who will be talking about the future of festivals.
Among the 39 films in official selection (31 nationalities in total represented this year, as well as 34 world premieres) is the world premiere of The Girl in the Spider's Web by Fede Álvarez, the new chapter in the Lisbeth Salander saga, starring Claire Foy, and Mia and the White Lion by Gilles de Maistre. Among other European titles is Kursk by Thomas Vinterberg, about the nuclear-powered Russian submarine that sank in the Barents Sea in 2000, Ether by Krzysztof Zanussi, about experiments conducted with ether by an unscrupulous doctor at the beginning of the 20th century, Stan & Ollie by Jon S. Baird, about the theatre tour of two beloved comedians in England in 1953, both close to their swan song, as well as Before the Frost by Michael Noer, the animated film Funan by Denis Do, An Impossibly Small Object by David Verbeek, and the first two episodes of the British production series directed by Park Chan-wook, The Little Drummer Girl. Representing Italy is The Vice of Hope by Edoardo De Angelis (applauded at Toronto) and Diario di tonnara by Giovanni Zoppeddu, while the special events section will see the screening of the hotly-anticipated film Magical Nights by Paolo Virzi (closing film) and two musical documentaries, Noi siamo Afterhours by Giorgio Testi, about Afterhours and its lead singer, Manuel Agnelli, and their thirty year history together, and Vero dal vivo by Daniele Barraco, about Francesco De Gregori.
The common thread running through this year's edition is noir film, starting with the opening film Bad Times at the El Royale by Drew Goddard, starring Jeff Bridges and Dakota Johnson, defined by Monda as a "very glamorous neo-noir film." This year’s edition includes various strong themes, such as racial laws and the Holocaust, as well as four documentaries (including 1938 - Quando scoprimmo di non essere più italiani by Pietro Suber) in the Per non dimenticare section, and a film on the "rehabilitation" of gay men, Boy Erased by Joel Edgerton in the Tutti ne parlano section. Retrospectives are dedicated to Peter Sellers (also featuring in this year's beautiful poster) and Maurice Pialat, with a selection of 12 and 10 films respectively. Tributes will be paid to Robert Redford, at Rome with his latest film (The Old Man & the Gun) before his final retirement, and to directors who have recently passed away, such as Ermanno Olmi, Vittorio Taviani and Carlo Vanzina.