October 21, Oscar®-winner Barry Jenkins back in Rome with “If Beale Street Could Talk”

Following the success of Moonlight, winner of three Oscars® and presented in Rome in 2016, director Barry Jenkins returns to Rome Film Fest: on Sunday October 21st at 7:30 pm in Sala Sinopoli at the Auditorium Parco della Musica, there will be a presentation of his new film If Beale Street Could Talk, from the novel of the same name by James Baldwin. The film is set in the 1970s, in Harlem in Manhattan. Friends since childhood, 19-year old Tish and her fiancé Alonzo, known as Fonny, dream of a life together. When Fonny is arrested for a crime he didn’t commit, Tish, who has just discovered she is pregnant, does everything in her power to exonerate him, with the unconditional support of her parents and relatives. Without a partner at her side, Tish must deal with the unexpected prospect of being a mother. As weeks become months, the girl never loses hope, supported by her inner strength and the affection of her family, which will do anything for the good of their daughter and their future son-in-law.

Seven more films from the Official Selection, from all over the world, are also scheduled for screening. Beautiful Boy by Felix Van Groeningen (Sala Sinopoli at 5 pm) is inspired by two best best-selling books by David and Nic Sheff: at age eighteen, Nic Sheff was a good student, editor of his high school newspaper, an actor in the school play, an athlete on the water polo team, ready to enter college, but he tries methamphetamines and goes almost instantly to a full-blown dependency. The Sheffs are faced with the harsh reality that addiction is a disease that does not discriminate and can hit any family at any time.

Kursk by Thomas Vinterberg (Sala Sinopoli at 10 pm) is inspired by the anguishing true story of the K-141 Kursk, a Russian nuclear-propelled submarine that sank in the Barents Sea in August 2000. As twenty-three sailors struggled to survive aboard the submarine, their families fought desperately against the bureaucratic obstacles and the meager probability that they could be saved.

Mia et le lion blanc by Gilles de Maistre (Sala Petrassi at 6 pm) is set in South Africa. It is the story of eleven-year-old Mia and Charlie, a white lion cub born at the farm where her parents breed lions. Mia and Charlie grow up together, in a truly symbiotic relationship. When Mia turns fourteen and Charlie has become a magnificent adult lion, she realizes something that she considers completely unacceptable: her father has decided to sell Charlie to trophy hunters. A desperate Mia has no choice but to flee with Charlie in an attempt to save him.

The documentary Daughters of the Sexual Revolution: the Untold Story of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders by Dana Adam Shapiro (Sala Petrassi at 8 pm) is the never-before-told story of Suzanne Mitchell, the fiercely-loyal den mother of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. Seen by many as regressive, humiliating, sexist and exploitative of women, this diverse sisterhood of small-town “girls next door” became a controversial pop culture phenomenon at the height of the Sexual Revolution.

At 10 pm, in Sala Petrassi, the screening will feature the first two episodes of The Little Drummer Girl, the new series by Park Chan-wook. The story is inspired by the novel of the same name by John Le Carré. Charlie, a left-leaning young woman, makes her living as an actress in London. When a mysterious magnate brings his company to Greece, the woman is approached by a stranger. In the meantime, in West Germany, Kurtz, the leader of an Israeli anti-terrorism unit, is on the tracks of a cell that has murdered a diplomat and his family. When events lead Charlie and Kurtz to meet, the woman will soon discover that she must keep her eyes wide open if she is to survive.

Correndo Atràs by Jefferson De (Teatro Studio Gianni Borgna Sala Siae, at 3 pm) tells the story of Paulo Ventania, a man without a real job who survives selling trinkets in the traffic of Rio de Janeiro. One day he glimpses the opportunity to change his life by becoming a football manager. Combing through the suburbs of Rio, Ventania discovers Glanderson, a boy with an outstanding talent for soccer who, like many others, dreams of becoming a professional football player. Glanderson has a remarkable physical feature: he has only three toes on his right foot. Ventania believes in the young boy’s talent and is committed to leveraging his career.

An Impossibly Small Object by David Verbeek (Teatro Studio Gianni Borgna Sala Siae, at 5 pm) tells the story of a Dutch photographer who takes a picture of a girl playing with her kite in a parking lot in Taipei. The photo transports us into her life. She is eight years old and is about to lose her best friend, who is moving to America. Back in the Netherlands, the photographer is confronted with his own constant loneliness. The photo of the girl evokes memories of his own childhood, when he still felt at home somewhere.

The Teatro Studio Gianni Borgna Sala Siae will also be the venue for the screening of Bayoneta by Kyzza Terrazas (at 10 pm): the film is about Miguel “Bayoneta” Galìndez, a retired Mexican boxer who, for mysterious reasons, finds himself living in a cramped flat in the town of Turku, Finland. By day, he works as a trainer in a boxing gym and at night he drinks alone in bars. A need for redemption will lead him to prove himself once again as a fighter. He will thus be forced to come to terms with his past and with whatever pushed him away from boxing and his family.

In the wake of the success of the first two editions, the Rome Film Fest takes another in-depth look at film criticism in the event titled “Critical Conditions: Teaching and Learning To Love Cinema“. At 11 am at the MAXXI Museum, influential international film critics such as Alain Bergala (essayist, screenwriter, director, teacher), Serge Toubiana (journalist, essayist, from 2003 to 2016 director of the Cinémathèque Française and since 2017 President of Unifrance), and American film critic A.O. Scott (New York Times), coordinated by Mario Sesti, will address the themes of the encounter in a conversation with Stefania Parigi (Tenured Professor at the Università degli Studi Roma Tre). As in previous years, the event will offer an opportunity to exchange ideas, experiences and perspectives, focusing on new aspects of the work of those who study and teach cinema, and those who write about it as a profession. The discussion will start with a focus on film education, in schools and universities, in a post-media world in which traditional educational approaches are becoming increasingly antagonistic to the power of social media and to the relentless innovation of technology.

The programme at MAXXI Museum features a rich series of events within the sphere of Rome Film Fest.

At 3 pm, there will be the screening of another film from the retrospective dedicated to Maurice Pialat and curated by Mario Sesti: Sous le soleil di Satan, which won the director the Palme d’Or in Cannes.

At 5 pm, there will be a screening of the short film Luce a cavallo, followed, at 6:30 pm, by the Close Encounter with Pierre Bismuth, a project by Videocittà in collaboration with Rome Film Fest. The winner of the Oscar® for Best Original Screenplay in 2005 for The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind will talk about his works, which reflect and work on the relationships and borders between perception and reality, between fiction and realism, between fiction and documentary, mixing genres, styles and means of communication.

At 9:30 pm, the screening will feature La storia quasi vera di Stefano Benni – le avventure del lupo, a biographical documentary by Enza Negroni that brings out the world view and multifaceted personality of author Stefano Benni.

Rome Film Fest will pay tribute to three beloved protagonists of Italian cinema: Vittorio Gassman, Carlo Vanzina and Ermanno Olmi.

At 4 pm, Sala Petrassi will be the venue for the screening of the documentary by Fabrizio Corallo titled “Sono Gassman!” Vittorio re della commedia. Reminiscences by colleagues and family are combined with film clips and recordings of stage performances and TV shows to create this portrait of an exuberant entertainer but also a man and his most secret and vulnerable side.

Just a few months after his premature death, Rome Film Fest remembers Carlo Vanzina, the cult director of Italian-style comedy in the 1980s and 90s, with the screening of Sapore di mare (at 7:30 pm in the Teatro Studio Gianni Borgna Sala Siae). Before the screening, Chiara Gamberale and Diego De Silva will converse with film critic Alberto Crespi and writer Paolo Di Paolo about the vast filmography of the Vanzina brothers. On the same day, as part of the programme “It All Happens on the Red Carpet”, via Condotti will be paying homage to the late filmmaker with a photography exhibition that portrays him on the set and at home and features posters from his most famous films. The exhibition was organized with the help of the director’s brother Enrico Vanzina, and Medusa Film.

Tribute will also be paid to the recently deceased Ermanno Olmi, with the screening of Time Stood Still, restored by Cineteca di Bologna, at 9 pm at Casa del Cinema. The film which, in a rigorous style, tells the story of the creation of a bond between men against the background of the majestic solitude of the mountains, is a consideration about time, a parable of the relationship between man and nature.

Also, at Casa del Cinema, at 6 pm, there will be a screening of Chinatown by Roman Polanski, a film selected personally by Artistic Director Antonio Monda, as part of the section “Films of Our Lives”, dedicated this year to the noir.

At 3:30 pm in Cinema Hall, the screening will feature Detective per caso by Giorgio Romano, the first feature-length film with disabled professional actors that is not about disability. The screening will be preceded by the presentation of the project “L’Arte nel Cuore” which, together with Addictive Ideas srl, produced the film.

Several movie theatres around the city will be showing films from Rome Film Fest.

The My Cityplex Savoy, at 4 pm, will screen the historical documentary by Roberta Grossman titled Who Will Write Our History, along with some of the films from the Official Selection: The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Desiree Akhavan (at 6 pm), Fahrenheit 11/9 by Michael Moore (at 8 pm) and Light as Feathers by Rosanne Pel (at 10:30 pm). The latter will be preceded by the screening of one of the finalists in the competition for short films “Cuori al buio”. The documentary by Pietro Suber 1938: Quando scoprimmo di non essere più italiani will be shown in a repeat screening at Casa del Cinema at 4 pm, while Cinema Hall will feature the animation film by Denis Do Funan (at 6 pm), If Beale Street Could Talk by Barry Jenkins (at 8 pm) and Kursk by Thomas Vinterberg (at 10:30 pm).


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