Conor Mills | Freelance Automotive and Travel Journalist

Freelance Automotive and Travel Journalist

Preview: 2010 Rome International Film Festival

Posted by Admin On October - 22 - 2010

The 5th RIFF opens this week with an intriguing line-up of internationally sourced features.

Only in its fifth year, the Rome International Film Festival is still an infant compared to its established northern rival in Venice, but given the short time scale, the RIFF has done an impressive job developing its own distinct personality, and it’s clear it has no desire to imitate Venice, though people are quick to compare the two.

Taking place between October 28 and November 5, the emphasis this year is very much on independent and multicultural cinema, revealed in a long list of international co-productions with partnerships from France, Hong Kong, USA, Iran, Italy and Germany to name a few.

Kicking things off is Last Night, a bleak marital drama starring Eva Mendes and Keira Knightly. While Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart’s Rabbit Hole, a story about a couple grieving the death of their son, is the other star-studded entrant in this year’s main event.

The remaining 14 films completing this years line-up for the Marc’Aurelio Jury Award for Best Film include a range of features from around the world, while the main interest from a British perspective lies with Oranges and Sunshine, the first feature film by Jim Loach, son of legendary English filmmaker Ken.

Outside of the 16 films competing for the top honours there is an equally rich plethora of features, documentaries, special events and workshops taking place throughout the duration of the festival. Six films will be getting their world premieres, including Dylan Dog: Dead of Night, the popular Italian horror comic strip about a ‘nightmare investigator’. Taking place on Halloween, the screening is, however, only a 20-minute preview.

Returning to the big screen after a 10 year hiatus, John Landis makes a welcome comeback with Burke and Hare, a black comedy about two nineteenth-century grave robbers (played by Andy Serkis and Simon Pegg), who make an unscrupulous living by selling body parts to an unsuspecting Edinburgh medical college. Although the fact that it’s been hidden from critical view so far doesn’t bode well.

Landis will also be presenting one of the conversations in the Cinema Lessons section were he will divulge his secrets about how to write successful ’80s comedies. Alexandre Rockwell has also been selected as a host.

In an ode to the past, there will be premiere screenings of digitally restored editions of La Dolce Vita and Rashomon, celebrating their 50th and 60th birthdays respectively. The latter is one of the highlights of this year’s Focus Section, which turns the spotlight on Japanese cinema and culture. As well as seven European and international premieres there will also be a number of Japanese-themed exhibitions taking place throughout the city and a special event to mark the 100th anniversary of Akira Kurosawa’s birth.

Here’s a brief rundown of what to look out for during RIFF 2010.

Oranges and Sunshine
Jim Loach’s first feature film tells the harrowing tale of Margret Humphrey, the social worker from Nottingham who discovered the terrible truth about the forced migration of children from the United Kingdom to Australia during the ’40s and ’50s.

My Name is Khan
Shahrukh Khan (Bollywood’s answer to Tom Cruise) plays the role of a mildly autistic Indian Muslim living in America. Waking one morning to find his confused girlfriend has left him following the events of 9/11, he takes on the role of Forrest Gump and embarks on a journey across America in search of her.

After several screenings at various festivals in its 334-minute entirety, Olivier Assayas’ Carlos the Jackal biopic has been trimmed down to a mere three hours for the more concise theatrical cut.

Duane Baughman and Johnny O’Hara’s documentary looks at the history of modern Pakistan since its independence from India in 1947, concentrating on the Bhutto dynasty and its rise and fall from power.

Dog Sweat
Secretly filmed by the political refugee Hossein Kesharvaz in Teheran. Dog Sweat explores the lives of six young Iranians as they struggle to satisfy their private desires in the face of a conservative Islamic society.

Original publication: Little White Lies

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