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'Room', Paul Thomas Anderson doc set for reinvented Rome

New festival director criticizes “myopic” battle for premieres and reveals London Film Festival “alliance”.

In its tenth year the once again reinvented Rome Film Festival (October 16-24) will host a streamlined but crowd-pleasing combination of autumn festival titles and potential discoveries.

Among national debuts are Lenny Abrahamson’s well-received Room, James Ponsoldt’s The End Of The Tour, Peter Sollett’s Freeheld, Pal Nalin’s female buddy movie Angry Indian Goddesses and Paul Thomas Anderson’s recently announced music documentary Junun, about Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood’s travels to India.

Italian films set to unspool at the streamlined yet international festival are Claudio Cupellini’s Alaska and Sergio Rubini’s Dobbiamo Parlare.

UK documentary The Confessions Of Thomas Quick and Chinese box office giant Monster Hunt will also be among the 37 films, documentaries and TV series from 24 countries announced today in the official selection.

The semi-autonomous Alice Nella Citta strand will showcase titles including Deniz Gamze Erguven’s Mustang, Philippe Claudel’s Une Enfance and Sandra Kogut’s Campo Grande.

As previously announced, James Vanderbilt’s drama Truth starring Cate Blanchett and Robert Redford will open the new-look event, which will also host Robert Zemeckis’ The Walk 3D.

TV series will include Fargo (ep 1 and 2, season 2) and episodes 1-12 of Israeli political thriller Fauda.

There will be retrospectives for Antonio Pietrangeli Pablo Larrain and Pixar and tributes to Pier Paolo Pasolini, Ettore Scola and the Taviani brothers, among others, as well as a director’s cut of Paolo Sorrentino’s Oscar-winner The Great Beauty.

Meanwhile, talks will include Jude Law, Wes Anderson and author Donna Tartt, Joel Coen and Frances McDormand, William Friedkin and Dario Argento, while film, TV and video game market MIA will run alongside the festival.

In a bid to return the festival to its more playful and popular roots, new festival director Antonio Monda, a former journalist and academic, has done away with the competition, juries and opening and closing ceremonies, “all rituals that I view as too stuffy and conventional,” he said.

The festival itself has been rebranded as the ‘Festa del Cinema’ – literally, the cinema, or film, party - while the only prize will be an Audience Award.

Monda also today revealed an “alliance” with fellow festival director Clare Stewart of the overlapping London Film Festival whereby the two events will share invitees and alternate premieres on different dates.

“In thanking Clare for her cooperation and farsightedness, I feel I can safely say that we have sent an important message and established a healthy curatorial relationship, the beneficiaries of which will be festivalgoers in our two cities, who will be able to see films that would otherwise have been discarded according to the myopic, arrogant, and egotistical logic behind the premiere for the premiere’s sake,” said Monda.

The partnership is akin to that between the San Sebastian and Zurich Film Festival.

In a reference to previous scepticism from some towards previous incarnations of the festival, and specifically to questions concerning the festival’s ‘identity’, Monda added:

“I hope that the event I have set in motion will defuse this type of self-serving polemics and negative judgments about the past”.

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