Highlights | Rome Film Fest   

#RomaFF13 | October 26, the Official Selection wraps up with six screenings

On Friday, October 26, the 2018 Rome Film Fest’s Official Selection lineup wraps up with six screenings.

At 7:30 pm, Sala Sinopoli at Auditorium Parco della Musica hosts American Animals by Bart Layton. It is the story of Spencer and Warren, two friends who attend the local university but want to turn their life around and are ready to do anything to achieve that, even break the law. Their objective becomes a very rare antique book that, despite its enormous value, is kept in the university library without any security measures. They recruit two other partners, Eric the accountant and Chas the sportsman, and begin to plan the coup down to the last detail, but a series of extravagant turns of events await them.

In the same theater (at 10 pm), the audience can catch the premiere of A Private War by Matthew Heineman, a love letter to journalism and a tribute to the legendary war correspondent Marie Colvin. The reporter’s life was complicated, and being perennially on the front line in areas destroyed by armed conflicts would take its toll on Colvin’s personal life: she would suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, fall in love with a businessman, and be tempted to give it all up for a normal life, without ever being able to give up telling the stories of those in need. 

At 9 pm Sala Petrassi hosts the second Italian film on the Official Selection lineup: Diario di tonnara by Giovanni Zoppeddu, a documentary that retells tales of the sea, tales of Sicily and the world at large. Zoppeddu brings the community of fishermen to the big screen: we see them torn between the pragmatism of their trade and the call of the sacred, in a paean to the demands of this way of life, but also the community’s natural inclination to ritual and tradition. The rais, the tuna traps and the fishermen themselves are the heart of a narrative made up of accounts of times past that re-emerge from oblivion thanks to the magic of cinema.

Next up in Sala Petrassi (at 10:30 pm), the premiere of Three Identical Strangers by Tim Wardle, which is set in New York in 1980. Through a strange series of coincidences, two complete strangers –19-year-olds Robert Shafran and Edward Galland — discovered that they were identical twins, separated at birth, adopted and raised by different families. When their story ran in the New York Post, another 19-year-old, David Kellman, realized he was their triplet, adopted by yet another family. After their reunion, they became instant media sensations: the three gave endless interviews, went clubbing at Studio 54, and were contacted by Madonna to appear in a movie with her. Many years later, the brothers’ discovery set in motion a chain of events that unearthed an extraordinary and very disturbing secret.

In Teatro Studio Gianni Borgna Sala Siae at 8 pm, the film Titixe by Mexican filmmaker Tania Hernández Velasco looks at what happens when the last farmer in a family has died and with him, all knowledge of tilling the land has been lost. With no experience of their own, his daughter and granddaughter will attempt a last traditional harvest to try to convince Grandma, the farmer’s widow, to reconsider her decision to sell the plot of land. In the process, they will uncover the traces (the “titixe”, in the local tongue) of this man and his world. Through an intimate exploration of a rural landscape, this is a bittersweet portrait of the drastic abandonment of agricultural lands in Mexico.

At 9:30 pm, the same theater will host the premiere of Michael Noer’s latest film Før Frosten (Before The Frost), set in rural 1850s Denmark, where an old farmer and his family face the cold and starvation. Given the harsh circumstances and the prospect of yet another tough winter, Jens must make an unbearable choice. If the family is to survive he must make a pact with the wealthy farmer at the nearby farm, forsaking his own morals and giving up the most precious asset he owns, in an effort to secure a better life for his entire family.

Earlier on Friday in Teatro Studio Gianni Borgna Sala Siae, at 5 pm, Rome Film Fest pays tribute to Neapolitan filmmaker Mario Martone who will attend a Close Encounter during which he and Italian journalist Concita De Gregorio will discuss literary sensation Elena Ferrante, famous around the world for her series The Neapolitan Novels. Ferrante and Martone are linked by the director’s sophomore film L’amore molesto, the screen adaptation of Ferrante’s first novel of the same name. After the talk, audiences will be treated to a screening of the 2K restored version of the film. This new version, restored by Lucky Red in collaboration with 64 Biz and Augustus Color, sees a key intervention by the director and cinematographer, who restored the scenes set in the past to the black and white originally called for in the script. 

One hundred years after the end of World War I, Rome Film Fest commemorates La grande guerra (The Great War) by Mario Monicelli with a screening of a restored extended version (sala Petrassi). The restoration was made thanks to Aurelio De Laurentiis and Cineteca Nazionale, under the supervision of cinematographer Giuseppe Rotunno (Sala Petrassi, 6 pm). Winner of the Golden Lion in 1959 ex-aequo with Roberto Rossellini’s General Della Rovere, Monicelli’s was one of the first Italian films to address a theme that until then was considered taboo: the massacres in the conflict that raged from 1914 to 1918. He did so with a sweeping perspective balanced between the realism of tragedy and the jeering cynicism of comedy, between epic and anti-rhetoric. He observed the war from the trenches, recounting both amusing and bitter anecdotes, speaking in a range of dialects – at a time when a unitary language was just beginning to spread in Italy – and focusing on characters who are types, personalities, parodies and human beings at the same time. Like the two protagonists, Giovanni from Milan and Oreste from Rome (played respectively by Vittorio Gassman and Alberto Sordi), two infantrymen who are always trying to lie low, two lazy and cowardly opportunists who are captured by the Austrians and die as heroes, finding redemption in a burst of pride, in a display of personal dignity. Monicelli’s film reveals battlefields for what they are, dirty and muddy butcheries, and expresses a caustic and at the same time heartfelt rejection of a war that was as bloodthirsty and absurd as are all wars.

At MAXXI Museum at 9:30 pm, Marco Tullio Giordana joins actress Adriana Asti to introduce Donna Fabia, the documentary the filmmaker has devoted to her, inspired by Carlo Porta’s poem “Offerta a Dio (La preghiera)”. The marchioness Fabia Fabroni complains to don Sigismondo, the family priest, about the general decadence of society and its mores. As they wait for supper to be served, Donna Fabia tells him about the humble prayer she addressed to God asking him to pardon the derelicts who offended her.  

Earlier at MAXXI, at 7:30 pm, a Close Encounter moderated by Mario Sesti will feature two worldwide famous Italian cinematographers, Luciano Tovoli and Arnaldo Catinari. Tovoli, born in 1936 won two Silver Ribbon awards: in 1976, for The Passenger by Michelangelo Antonioni, and in 1989 for Splendor by Ettore Scola. Catinari a leading exponent of the reinvention of the canons for Italian cinema in the 1970s, served as cinematographer on films such as Light of My Eyes, The CaimanTell Me About LoveThe Demons of Saint Petersburg and Angels of Evil. During the talk, the two artists look back on their careers as “masters of light”.

The talk at MAXXI will be preceded, at 4:30 pm, by a screening of Van Gogh, a film in the lineup of the Maurice Pialat retrospective. Another film by the French filmmaker, Le garçu, will be screened at Casa del Cinema at 9 pm. As for the Peter Sellers retrospective, Friday’s film is The Millionairess by Anthony Asquith, screening in Teatro Studio Gianni Borgna Sala Siae at 3 pm. Both retrospectives are curated by Mario Sesti. In the Fest’s Films of Our Lives section, the film noir by Zhang Yimou, Ju Dou will be screened at 6 pm in Casa del Cinema. 

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 public alike can get their fill of a lineup of screenings and talks at the Auditorium of the 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. After La stoffa dei sogni by Giovanni Cabiddu and Trek Point by Tommaso Cavallini, Friday’s event is Caesar Must Die by the Taviani brothers, filmed in Rebibbia itself. The film, winner of the Golden Bear in Berlin in 2012, will be introduced by Paolo Taviani and the stars of the film at the time, since released from prison.

Friday, October 26, sees the opening of the exhibition devoted to Marcello Mastroianni at the Museum of the Ara Pacis. “There’s still a lot to learn about Marcello,” says curator Gian Luca Farinelli, “and to find out everything we can, we need to stick close to his filmography, which is the mirror image of his own life.” Marcello Mastroianni’s whole life and career shine through a selection of the most celebrated portraits of the actor, clips from his films, recordings of his shows and a variety of mementos, in a visual and narrative tour de force that constitutes a full immersion in Italy’s most famous film icon. The exhibition is promoted by Roma Capitale and the Councillorship for Cultural Development – Capitoline Superintendency for Cultural Heritage; it is co-produced and curated by Cineteca di Bologna, with the support of the Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities and Istituto Luce – Cinecittà. Museum services by Zetema Progetto Cultura, management coordination by Camilla Morabito’s Equa. The exhibition runs through February 17, 2019.

At 5:30 pm in AuditoriumArte, Cinemadamare continues to promote young filmmakers and their films. Thanks to a collaboration with Fondazione Cinema per Roma and Roma Lazio Film Commission, Cinemadamare will be providing a space for aspiring filmmakers to present their work during the 13th Rome Film Fest. The aim is to provide needed visibility for films made outside the usual professional channels that are nevertheless remarkable achievements, and to do so during one of the most high-profile events in the national and global film industry. On the same occasion, Cinemadamare will guarantee the directors, writers, actors and other figures involved in films production that there will be film professionals in the audience who will be able to offer feedback on the films and advice about their potential market. 

After its showcases devoted to Antonella Lualdi and Roberto De Leonardis, Cinema Trevi pays homage to filmmaker Luigi Magni with a screening of his films Quelle strane occasioni (at 5 pm), Signore e signori, buonanotte (at 7 pm) and In nome del papa re (at 9 pm). 

For the second year in a row, Rome Film Fest collaborates with Teatro Palladium, the historic Roman theater now owned by Roma Tre University, continues with a slate of screenings from the lineup, and Friday’s film, at 8:30 pm, is L’anti-scienza – Il caso Ilaria Capua, a documentary by Stefano Pistolini and Massimo Salvucci devoted to the internationally renowned virologist swept into a fake media scandal that saw her called out as a virus trafficker. 

Audiences can catch reruns of Rome Film Fest fare at a variety of venues on Friday.

Sala Sinopoli will be hosting, at 5 pm, If Beale Street Could Talk by Barry Jenkins and, at 3 pm, Monsters and Men by Reinaldo Marcus Green. The latter film will also be screened at My Cityplex Savoy at 10:30 pm, preceded by Beautiful Boy by Felix Van Groeningen (at 8 pm), Boy Erased by Joel Edgerton (at 3:30 pm) and Dead in a Week: Or Your Money Back by Tom Edmunds (at 6 pm). The last of these can also be seen in Sala Petrassi at 3:30 pm. At the MAXXI at 12 noon, audiences can catch Las niñas bien (The Good Girls) by Alejandra Márquez Abella, while Cinema Hall will be screening the special event Il flauto magico di Piazza Vittorio by Mario Tronco and Gianfranco Cabiddu (at 3pm), followed by several titles from the Official Selection: Corleone, il potere ed il sangue – Corleone, la caduta by Mosco Levi Boucault (at 5 pm), American Animals by Bart Layton (at 8 pm) and A Private War by Matthew Heineman (at 10:30 pm).

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