US films dominate Rome festival lineup

Agence France-Presse
Featured films in Eternal City include offbeat love affair with voice, 'Her,' and Greek 'Gods Behaving Badly' in New York

TECH ROMANCE. Official poster of 'Her,' starring Phoenix as infatuated man and Johansson as the voice

ROME, Italy – US director Spike Jonze’s “Her” will be one of the hotly-awaited premieres at the Rome film festival, including movies starring Scarlett Johansson and Christian Bale, the festival’s director said Monday, October 14.

Marco Mueller, formerly the head of the Venice film festival, unveiled a lineup for November featuring Brazilian, Chilean, Iranian, Japanese, Mexican, and Portuguese films.

Of the 18 films in competition, 17 are world or international premieres, with a strong American and Italian presence, in particular.

US director James Gray, best known for his 2007 crime drama “We Own the Night,” will head up the jury for the festival, which runs November 8 to 17.

Mueller said there was no overriding theme linking the films selected: “We chose the ones that moved us, that spoke to our hearts, our guts,” he said.

Infatuation for voice

Jonze’s “Her,” already a favorite with critics, granted a first look at New York’s film festival in October. A wry, comic tale on our increasingly intimate relationships with technology, the film stars Joaquin Phoenix as a man who gets a new, female-voiced operating system on his mobile and develops an infatuation for the voice – played by Johansson.

Scott Cooper’s US thriller “Out of the Furnace” – produced by Ridley Scott and Leonardo DiCaprio – will also have its international premiere. Starring Bale, Casey Affleck, and Willem Dafoe, it tells the tale of two brothers dreaming of a better life in the poverty-hit Rust Belt, who end up drawn into a spiral of violence with a ruthless gang.

Mueller said the first 7 days of the festival in the Eternal City will feature a nightly screening of a US film with “an important star” on the red carpet – though he would not be drawn on names.

Greek gods in New York

Critics and audiences also look forward to American producer Mark Turtletaub’s first film as director, “Gods Behaving Badly.”

Starring Christopher Walken as Zeus, Sharon Stone as Aphrodite, Oliver Platt as Apollo, and John Turturro as Hades, the film sees a mortal couple running across the down-on-their-luck Greek gods living it up in New York.

Mueller also promised a “return to real Italian comedy” with the opening screening, Giovanni Veronesi’s “The Fifth Wheel,” about an unlikely everyman hero.

The new “Hunger Games” installment, “Catching Fire,” directed by Francis Lawrence, will open out of competition with Josh Hutcherson in the lead role. –

Add a comment

Sort by

There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.