What to expect at 2019’s Rome Film Festival

From highly anticipated films to A-list celebrities: here is what we’re most excited about

It may be the most pop festival of the season, but one thing is for sure: this year  tons of Hollywood stars will attend Rome Film Festival. The poster of the 14th edition is dedicated to one of the greatest female stars of classic Hollywood cinema: the swedish-american actress Greta Garbo. In the morning Artistic Director, Antonio Monda, and Vice President, Laura Delli Colli introduced the program to the press.

The festival, which runs 17-27 October at Auditorium Parco della Musica in Rome, presented a rich calendar which includes probable Oscar contenders and many talked-about films, which recently debuted in other international cinema events.

Let’s start saying that the long list of special guests includes Martin Scorsese (who’s coming back to Rome for the second year in a row), Viola Davis and Bill Murray.

Here are some of the films and the events we’re most excited about.


Some films will debut at Casa del Cinema three days before the festival as pre-opening screenings. John Turturro’s The Jesus Rolls (which debuts on October 16) is worth a mention: this is a crime-comedy remake of 1974’s film Going Places by French filmmaker Bertrand Blier and a spin-off to 1998’s The Big Lebowski, by Coen Brothers. The film stars Turturro himself and Bobby Cannavale, both attending the festival in person.

Rome Film Festival 2019 – Edward Norton and Willem Dafoe in Motherless Brooklyn. Credits/ Warner Bros.


Edward Norton’s Motherless Brooklyn will open the Official Selection on October 17: the film is an adaptation of Jonathan Lethem’s detective novel. Norton wrote and directed the film and he also stars in the leading role. The selection also includes highly anticipated titles like the historical gangster drama The Irishman, by Martin Scorsese, the biographical adventure The Aeronauts, by Tom Harper and the crime-drama Hustlers, by Lorene Scafaria. The section will also features two music documentaries: Pavarotti, by Ron Howard, and Western Stars, by Thom Zimny and Bruce Springsteen. Il Ladro di Giorni, by Enrico Lombardi, Santa Subito, by Alessadro Piva, are two of the most interesting titles that will represent Italy in this section.


This year, the section dedicated to the most talk-about titles, will feature La Belle Époque by Nicolas Bedos, Share by Pippa Bianco and The Vast of Night by Andrew Patterson.


Actors Bill Murray and Viola Davis will receive the Career Awards for their achievements and both are meeting the audience during two of the Close Encounters of the festival on October 19 and 26: director Wes Anderson will be joining the masterclass with Murray before giving him the award. The Close Encounters will feature also other cinema personalities as well as characters coming from different creative backgrounds; the list includes: Fanny Ardant, Olivier Assayas, Ethan Coen, Benicio Del Toro, Bret Easton Ellis, Ron Howard, Kore-Eda Hirokazu, Edward Norton, Bertrand Tavernier, John Travolta (October 22), Jia Zhangke and Zhao Tao.


Tornare by Cristina Comencini will close the 14th edition of the festival followed by the Special Event film Sin (Il Peccato), by Russian director Andrei Konchalovsky. The two main Retrospectives are dedicated to Kore-Eda Hirokazu and Max Ophüls: Rome Film Festival will celebrate the Japanese filmmaker presenting nine of his most important works, including his recent film Manbiki Kazoku (Shoplifters), while the homage to the german director (loved by François Truffaut and Stanley Kubrick) will feature iconic films such as Liebelei and Lola Montès. The festival will also remember directors Carlo Vanzina, Gillo Pontecorvo and Franco Zeffirelli in the section Tributes.



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