Highlights | Rome Film Fest   

#RomaFF13 | October 24, the Rome Film Fest hosts the world premiere of “The Girl in the Spider’s Web”

The 13th Rome Film Fest hosts the cinematic comeback of Lisbeth Salander, cult figure and lead character in the “Millennium” series of hit novels created by Stieg Larsson. On Wednesday, October 24 at 7:30 pm, Sala Sinopoli at Auditorium Parco della Musica hosts the world premiere of The Girl in the Spider’s Web by Fede Álvarez, the first screen adaptation of the recent global bestseller written by David Lagercrantz. Golden-Globe winner Claire Foy, star of the series The Crown, plays the iconic hacker under the direction of the filmmaker behind the thriller Man in the Dark. The cast also features Swedish actor Sverrir Gudnason (Borg McEnroe) as journalist Mikael Blomkvist, and Dutch actress Sylvia Hoeks (Blade Runner 2049) takes on the role of Lisbeth’s long-missing sister Camilla.

After the extraordinary acclaim for his Close Encounter, Martin Scorsese will be back at Auditorium Parco della Musica on Wednesday at 4 pm, in Sala Petrassi, to introduce the screening of the restored version of San Michele aveva un gallo, written and directed by Paolo and Vittorio Taviani. Rome Film Fest thus pays tribute to the late Vittorio Taviani by screening one of the masterpieces made by him and his brother, restored by Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia – National Film Library and Istituto Luce Cinecittà. 

Outstanding New York actress Sigourney Weaver is next up on the Close Encounter programme (at 6:30 pm in Sala Petrassi). Thanks to a blend of sheer talent and acting technique that has made her one of most versatile stars in contemporary film, Weaver has taken on a remarkable range of roles and genres running the gamut from science fiction and thrillers to comedy and politically engaged films. She has been tapped by a series of extraordinary directors to star in their films, such as Ridley Scott, Ivan Reitman, Mike Nichols, Ang Lee, Roman Polanski, David Fincher, and James Cameron. Her memorable performances light up the “Alien” and “Ghostbusters” sagas, Gorillas in the Mist and Working Girl (which earned her the Golden Globe), as well as Death and the Maiden and Avatar, the highest-grossing film of all time.

There are three more films on the Official Selection lineup on Wednesday.

Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly star in Stan & Ollie, the new film by Jon S. Baird that screens in Sala Petrassi at 8:30 pm. Stan Laurel & Oliver Hardy, the world’s favorite comedy double act, set out on a variety hall tour of Britain in 1953. With their golden era as the kings of Hollywood comedy now behind them, they face an uncertain future. Attendance is disappointingly low, but they’ve always been able to make each other laugh and as the charm and beauty of their performances shine through, their audiences laugh too, and they re-connect with legions of adoring fans. The tour will be a success, but Laurel and Hardy just can’t let go of their personas, and long-buried issues between them, along with Oliver’s health problems, threaten to undermine their partnership. Yet as the duo approaches their swan song, they rediscover the importance of their friendship.

Green Book by Peter Farrelly will screen in Sala Sinopoli at 10 pm. Against the backdrop of New York in the 1960s, Tony Lip (Viggo Mortensen), once a well-known bouncer, winds up as a driver for Don Shirley, a young African-American pianist. Lip has to escort the young prodigy on a long tour through the Deep South. After getting off to a rocky start, the two develop a marvelous friendship, bonding over the trip into the most racist parts of the United States. 

The last film of the day on the Official Selection lineup is Hermanos by Pablo Gonzaléz. The screening in Teatro Studio Gianni Borgna Sala Siae, at 9:30 pm, will be preceded by one of the finalist short films in the “Cuori al buio” competition. After serving a seven-year sentence for driving a motorcycle in a botched robbery, Federico Fierro returns to his hometown in search of redemption. Things have changed little, however: his mother still adores him, his father has not ceased to distrust him, and his brother Ramiro is still mixed up in some shady business. Though Federico attempts to pursue a normal life working as a miner, he soon finds himself trapped in Ramiro’s debt-ridden dealings with a vicious local gangster. As they race against time to pay what they owe by all means necessary and save their family and themselves from the ruthless fate that haunts them, the two brothers embark on a descent into violence and chaos.

A “Special Event” combining film and music takes place at 10:30 in Sala Petrassi: a screening of Vero dal vivo. Francesco De Gregori by Daniele Barraco. The documentary film was made during Italian singer-songwriter Francesco De Gregori’s tour in clubs across Europe and the United States, and shows De Gregori freely, with no constraints, ironic and offbeat. In clouds of smoke, backstage, on stage and on the road, De Gregori is always accompanied by his faithful band.

Another musical event adds sparkle to tomorrow’s programme. At 5:30 pm, Shel Shapiro, leader of the Rokes, takes the stage in Teatro Studio Gianni Borgna Sala Siae for an onstage conversation entitled “L’Italia dei Musicarelli”, moderated by Steve Della Casa and Alberto Crespi. The films that fell under the “musicarelli” sub-genre, simple only in appearance, have it all: the spirit of the times, new ideas coexisting with old ones, conformism and the first signs of a revolt that would set the world on fire.  

At 9:15 am, MAXXI Museum will host a screening of the documentary Soldati d’Italia, based on a six-part series created by Rai Italia, the RAI television channel for Italians living abroad. The film takes the form of immersive storytelling, quite different from a news-oriented approach and from an in-depth journalistic report. The international missions of over seven thousand Italian soldiers operate in areas of the world that are essential to the planet’s stability. In the film, the soldiers tell their stories as they come to represent Italy’s image abroad. The screening will be followed by remarks by: Elisabetta Trenta (Minister of Defense), Marcello Foa (President, Rai), Marco Giudici (Director, Rai Italia), Andrea Salvadore (author and filmmaker), and Antonio Monda (Artistic Director, Rome Film Fest).

Tomorrow night at MAXXI Museum, at 9:45 pm, there will be a screening of a film on the Riflessi lineup, As Time Goes By – L’uomo che disegnava sogni by Simone Aleandri, a journey into the life and imagination of renowned film illustrator Silvano Campeggi, known as Nano. His posters for films like Gone With The Wind, West Side Story, Casablanca and Ben Hur enchanted generations of filmgoers before they even set foot in the movie theater. A prolific artist, Campeggi worked through the twentieth century with a pencil in his hand, every day up to the age of 95. 

On July 3, 2017, after twenty years of being privately owned, Cinecittà film studios and post-production laboratories returned under public management.  Rome Film Fest has decided to celebrate this year the first anniversary of Istituto Luce Cinecittà’s going public by screening some of the most famous films made in the studios. After Once Upon a Time in America, tomorrow’s tribute features Bellissima by Luchino Visconti, a ruthless, grotesque portrayal of cinema’s false myths, halfway between melodrama and neo-realism (Sala Cinema Hall at 3 pm). 

Casa del Cinema is hosting two screenings tomorrow: at 6 pm, Le Samouraï by Jean-Pierre Melville, in the Films of Our Lives section; and at 9 pm, À nos amours by Maurice Pialat, as part of the retrospective devoted to the French filmmaker.

Another retrospective at Rome Film Fest celebrates Peter Sellers, and tomorrow at 3 pm, in Teatro Studio Gianni Borgna Sala Siae, audiences can catch The Pink Panther by Blake Edwards, in which British actor Peter Sellers plays the immortal Inspector Clouseau. Sellers is also the choice for its official poster this year.

For the third year in a row, Rome Film Fest symbolically breaks down the walls between city and penitentiary and returns to Rebibbia Prison. From October 24 to 26, inmates and the general public alike can get their fill of a lineup of screenings and talks at the Auditorium of Rebibbia Prison’s New Annex, thanks to a collaboration between Fondazione Cinema per Roma, Enrico Maria Salerno Historical Archives, and DAMS at Roma Tre University. The event is promoted by the Department of Penitentiary Administration and the warden of Rebibbia Prison. Tomorrow, Wednesday, October 24 at 4:30 pm, the program kicks off with a screening of La stoffa dei sogni by Gianfranco Cabiddu, with the director and actress Teresa Saponangelo in attendance. Prior to the screening, Cabiddu and actor Fabio Cavalli will take the stage for a talk; the two filmmakers collaborated on the 2005 production of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, in the translation by playwright Eduardo de Filippo, starring actor-inmates who would go on to star in Caesar Must Die by the Taviani brothers (reservations: www.enricomariasalerno.it).

At 12:30 in AuditoriumArte, there will be a presentation of the project “Io mi riprendo” (“I take back control of my life’), which involved ten Roma teenagers aged 14 to 19, who are in juvenile offender programs.

Supported by Fondazione Cinema per Roma in collaboration with Arci Solidarietà Onlus, IT Roberto Rossellini in Rome, and the Center for Juvenile Justice in Lazio, Abruzzo and Molise, this training program culminating in the making of an audiovisual project was an invaluable educational opportunity for the rehabilitation of the young people involved, based on the values of inclusion and cultural expression, providing them with the tools to create an alternative narrative for their life stories and make a fresh start. The ten teenagers involved in the project will be on hand for the presentation.

During the Rome Film Fest, the association Cultura Italiae is promoting the conference titled “The future of cinema from multimedia platforms to movie theatres, from individual to collective experience: new technologies, new challenges, new frontiers” (AuditoriumArte at 10 am). Cultura Italiae represents the joint efforts of women and men from the worlds of culture, sports, innovation, arts, business and professions who have decided to put their skills together to develop concrete projects that can best represent the excellence and merit found in Italy. 

As it does every year, Rome Film Fest unspools in different venues across the city.

Cinema Trevi’s showcase devoted to Roberto De Leonardis continues with screenings of Scontro di titani (4:30 pm), Brainstorm, generazione elettronica (6:45 pm), and Unico indizio: una sciarpa gialla (8:45 pm). The last of the three screenings will be preceded by a talk with Stefano Cacciagrano and Nunziante Valoroso who discuss the Italian dialogue writer and lyricist.

The programme of screenings at Teatro Palladium gets underway and runs through October 27. First up tomorrow at 8:30 pm is Il mare della nostra storia by Giovanna Gagliardo, with the filmmaker in attendance.

Rome Film Fest audiences can catch numerous films at repeat screenings tomorrow.

Cinema Hall will be showing Jan Palach by Robert Sedlácek (5:30 pm), The Girl in the Spider’s Web by Fede Álvarez (8 pm) and Green Book by Peter Farrelly (10:30 pm). MAXXI Museum is screening Powrót (Back Home) by Magdalena Łazarkiewicz (3 pm) and La Negrada (12 noon). Jorge Pérez Solano’s film will also be shown at My Cityplex Savoy at 6 pm, along with Jan Palach (3 pm), Mere pyaare prime minister (My Dear Prime Minister) by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra (8 pm), and the special event Noi siamo Afterhours by Giorgio Testi (10:30 pm).

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