Fresh faces and old favorites highlight Rome Film Festival

by Bob Deutsch

Fresh faces and old favorites highlight Rome Film Festival

Film festivals generally offer a platform on which young filmmakers can establish a fruitful career, while also providing established auteurs with an opportunity to take chances, reach new viewers or deliver a fresh vision to a mass audience. The Rome Film Festival – running from November 9 through November 17 – is no different, evidenced by a mix of works from accomplished and emerging talents on display in Italy’s capital this year.

Friday’s festivities were kicked off with the premier of “Lesson of the Evil,” the latest horror film from cult favorite Takashi Miike. The man behind gore-fests such as “Ichi the Killer” and “Audition,” Miike is known for pushing the envelope, and early reviews suggest his latest effort should appease fans of his previous films.

There’s a chance that Miike is not the only cult director to premiere his latest film in Rome. Marco Muller, the festival’s artistic director, dropped hints in recent media reports suggesting that Quentin Tarantino could turn up as a “big surprise” in the next weeks, and rumors are already flying that Tarantino may premiere his latest effort, “Django Unchained,” on the festival’s movie screens.

Other blockbusters with planned premiers in Rome include “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn: Part 2” and “Rise of the Guardians.”

At the same time, it could be argued that the main focus in Rome this year will be on foreign directors with less mainstream notoriety. Notable efforts from Tajikistan director Bakhtyar Khudojnazarov (“Waiting for the Sea”) and French filmmaker Carine Tardieu (“The Dandelions”) are also on the docket.

The festival will be held in the Auditorium Parco della Musica, one of Rome’s most impressive arts venues. Other events have been scheduled at notable landmarks around the city, and Muller told reporters a screening tent with seating for up to 1,400 spectators has been constructed.

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