- Title: ITALY: Rome opens its second film festival amid mixed reviews
- Date: 25th October 2007
- Summary: ROME, ITALY (RECENT) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (Italian) ROME MAYOR AND FESTIVAL ORGANISER WALTER VELTRONI SAYING: "We have some great films, this year we are really looking forward to the film by Francis Ford Coppola which has been long awaited with great interest. This festival is a great opportunity for cinema to have a relationship with its public, it is less of a traditional festival which has a more direct link with the world of cinema itself, it is more a festival for cinema's relationship with the public."
- Embargoed: 9th November 2007 12:00
- Location: Italy
- Country: Italy
- Topics: Entertainment
- Reuters ID: LVA8WHM6V3V44MP8RGY7I0GEYA2P
- Story Text: Rome is once again gearing up for a ten-day festival amid criticism that it has paled in comparison with other film festivals.
One major theme in this year's festival which opens on Thursday (October 18) is America's response to the September 11, 2001 attacks.
Robert Redford's "Lions for Lambs", in which he stars alongside Tom Cruise and Meryl Streep, tells the story of two soldiers wounded behind enemy lines in Afghanistan and the repercussions back home.
Also screening will be Gavin Hood's "Rendition", which premiered at the Toronto festival. It stars Reese Witherspoon and Jake Gyllenhaal and is about an American trying to track down her Egyptian-born husband, who is held at a secret CIA detention centre.
Both films are the latest in a string of Hollywood productions tackling the broad military fallout from the Sept. 11 attacks, a theme that has made U.S. cinema popular at European festivals even if box office returns have been mixed.
Veteran film-maker Francis Ford Coppola returns to the big screen with
"Youth Without Youth", the romantic story of an elderly Romanian professor who becomes young again after being hit by lightning.
Coppola, known for cult movies like "Apocalypse Now" and "The Godfather" trilogy, is back in the director's seat 10 years after shooting "The Rainmaker", and has picked Rome -- which suffers from its proximity to the Toronto festival -- for his world premiere.
Organisers were disappointed that their showcase was not on a list of the world's top 50 film festivals drawn up by movie magazine Variety, but Rome Mayor Walter Veltroni, who launched the festival last year amid an acrimonious war of words with Venice, said his pet project had already proved a success.
"We have some great films, this year we are really looking forward to the film by Francis Ford Coppola which has been long awaited with great interest. This festival is a great opportunity for cinema to have a relationship with its public, it is less of a traditional festival which has a more direct link with the world of cinema itself, it is more a festival for cinema's relationship with the public," Veltroni said in a recent interview.
Workers on Wednesday (October 17) were putting last-minute touches on the venue and movie buffs were waiting to get their hands on tickets.
"Mostly films that are not going to be distributed in Italy, so I'd like to... I'm Italian, of course I'd like to see films that probably is the only chance I can see here now," said Italian movie producer Laura Cafiero who says she looks forward to watching films producer from Africa and Asia.
Bollywood films will share the spotlight as the festival pays tribute to films from India.
Anurag Kashyap's "No Smoking" a dark comedy that revolves around a chain smoker's battle with the habit and the physical consequences and moral dilemma surrounding it.
"I'm expecting a big festival, a big event, big meeting with the, we will have Coppola and all of his family. We will have Terence Malik. I saw some trailers of the movie and I'm expecting big movies also," said film student and screenplay writer Victoria Arbib.
Also screening in Rome is "Noise", casting Tim Robbins as a New Yorker who turns into a vigilante exasperated by car alarms going off in the middle of the night.
Sean Penn will also present his "Into the Wild", the true story of a 24-year old on a road trip across America and into the Alaskan wilderness that ultimately cost him his life.
Monica Bellucci's Le Deuxieme Souffle kicks off the festival on Thursday.
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