ROME – The Turin Film Festival on Tuesday unveiled the lineup for its 31st edition, with more than 70 world and international premieres on tap, and a 14-film competition lineup that reveals a preference for U.S. and French productions.
Under the artistic direction of successful Italian comedy director Paolo Virzi for the first time this year, the fest’s official selection is eclectic, with a mix of dramas and comedies from around the world, along with a few documentaries and even the out-of-competition world premiere of a newly restored version of one of the greatest films ever made: Federico Fellini’s 8 ½, originally released 50 years ago and a regular on film buff top-ten lists.
The competition selection, made up entirely of first and second works from their directors, is highlighted by C.O.G. from Kyle Patrick Alvarez and based on a popular story written by popular humorist David Sedaris; Jeremy Saulnier’s thriller Blue Ruin; Italian organized crime comedy The Mafia Only Kills in the Summer (La Mafia uccide solo d’estate) from Pif; The Train Goes to Moscow (Il treno va a Mosca), a documentary from Federico Ferrone and Michele Manzolini; Catalonian director Neus Ballus’ The Plague (La plaga); and The Battle of Solferino (La bataille de Solferino), a comedy from France's Justine Triet.
All told, three competition films hail from France, two each from the U.S. and Italy, and one each from South Korea, Mexico, Canada, Venezuela, Spain, Thailand, and Japan.
The festival also announced an ambitious slate of two-dozen out-of-competition films in the official selection, projects that Virzi said strongly caught selector’s attention. Many of the films -- such as Noah Baumbach’s Frances Ha; Enough Said from Nicole Holofcenar, the last film from Soprano’s star James Gandolfini, who died earlier this year in Rome; Joel and Ethan Coen’s Inside Llewyn Davis; and Jim Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive -- are already familiar names on the festival circuit but screening for the first time in Italy.
Two others -- The Grand Seduction and The Husband, directed by Don McKellar and Bruce McDonald, respectively -- may seem familiar to Turin regulars. McKellar and McDonald, both Canadians, have both appeared in Turin’s competition in the past.
The festival previously announced two of the most high-profile names in the official selection: Eugenio Mira’s Grand Piano, starring Elijah Wood and John Cusack, the festival’s closing film, and opening film, Last Vegas, with a star-studded cast that includes Michael Douglas, Robert DeNiro, Morgan Freeman, and Kevin Kline and directed by Jon Turteltaub.
The festival, in the northern city of Turin, runs Nov. 22-30.