Rome Film Festival Lineup Unveiled: James Ivory to Be Honored With Career Prize, New Doc ‘A Cooler Climate’ to Screen

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The 17th annual Rome Film Festival will fete James Ivory with a career honor, a mini retrospective and the Italian launch of the Oscar-winning filmmaker’s personal new documentary “A Cooler Climate.”

Ivory is expected in Rome to receive the award and present the doc about his life as a traveler that takes its cue from boxes of film the director shot during a life-changing trip to Afghanistan in 1960. The film premieres beforehand at the New York Film Festival.

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Rome’s Ivory mini-retrospective will comprise his films “Maurice”; “Mr. and Mrs. Bridge,” starring Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward; “The Remains of the Day”; and “A Room With a View.”

The Rome fest – which has undergone a management change and is now headed by former RAI Cinema executive Paola Malanga as artistic director and Gian Luca Farinelli as president – on Thursday unveiled a mixed bag lineup comprising a competitive section largely made up of first works, alongside a rich roster of crowdpleasers in a separate tier called Grand Public. There is also a Best of 2022 sidebar where a selection of festival circuit standouts will unspool.

Rome’s opener, in the Grand Public section, is “The Hummingbird” (“Il Colibrì”), which is directed by Francesca Archibugi (“A Question of the Heart”) and stars Bérénice Bejo (“The Artist”) and Pierfrancesco Favino (“The Traitor”). The film, which world premiered in Toronto, is based on the eponymous novel by Sandro Veronesi, winner of Italy’s top literary prize, the Premio Strega 2020.

Other standouts in Grand Public include several other Toronto titles such as Billy Eichner’s gay rom-com “Bros”; Gabe Polsky’s Nicolas Cage-starrer “Butcher’s Crossing”; and Ralph Fiennes and Anya Taylor-Joy-starrer “The Menu” directed by Mark Mylod.

European entries include Fatih Akin’s “Rheingold,” about a rapper named Xatar; Stephen Frears’ “The Lost King”; and Shekhar Kapur’s “What’s Love Got to Do With It?” Italian titles comprise Michele Placido’s “Caravaggio’s Shadow,” with Riccardo Scamarcio and Isabelle Huppert, and Renato De Maria’s Fascist-era heist movie “Rapiniamo il Duce,” which is a Netflix original film.

Organizers were tight-lipped about talent participation, but it’s clear they are looking to raise the fest’s international profile by introducing the competitive strand even though it is largely made up of first works by obscure directors, one notable exception being Lila Neugebauer’s “Causeway” — a slow-burn drama starring Jennifer Lawrence, which premiered earlier this month in Toronto.

Other notable Rome competition titles include Rodrigo Garcia’s road trip movie “Raymond & Ray,” starring Ethan Hawke and Ewan McGregor; Palestinian coming-of-age drama “Alam” by Firas Khoury, about a Palestinian teenager named Tamer who is living in Israel; Cuban director Pavel Giroud’s “El Caso Padilla,” about the arrest of Cuban poet Heberto Padilla; Italian director Francesco Patierno’s “La Cura” set in Naples during lockdown; and “Houria,” a new Algeria-set drama by Mounia Meddour, who helmed Cesar-winning film “Papicha.”

Elsewhere, James Gray will be making the trek for the Italian launch of “Armageddon Time” which is screening in the fest’s separately run Alice in the City section dedicated to youth cinema. The helmer will also hold a masterclass about his debut film, “Little Odessa.”

The Rome fest’s main jury has not yet been announced.

The festival will run from Oct. 13-23.

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