Magazine article Screen International

Marco Mueller on Rome Challenges

Magazine article Screen International

Marco Mueller on Rome Challenges

Article excerpt

Festival veteran discusses this year's "pop mix" and a "very challenging" year.

Rome Film Festival (Oct 16-25) artistic director Marco Mueller hails this year's line-up as a "pop mix", which combines eclectic genres and nationalities, despite significant festival budget cuts.

"We have a very interesting pop mix," says the respected veteran, who will depart the festival after this, his third year in charge.

"We move between an unusual Italian comedy [Alessandro Genovesi's opener Soap Opera], amazing genre films, a large presentation of Latin American cinema - in a strong year for the region, Asian films and some of the key English-language films of the coming awards season."

Line-up

This year's line-up comprises 24 world premieres, including Aleksey Fedorchenko's drama Angels Of Revolution, Christoph Hochhausler's German thriller The Lies of the Victors and Afghan/German director Burhan Kurbani's We Are Young. We Are Strong.

English-language titles in the line-up include the European premiere of Stephen Daldry's Trash, Oren Moverman's Time Out of Mind and crowd-pleasers Gone Girl and Nightcrawler.

The slate also showcases a compact but varied range of Italian cinema.

"We insist on the diversity of Italian cinema," explains Mueller. "You expect Italian cinema to be predictable but a lot of twists and turns are still possible."

By way of example, he references Italian and Japanese-language drama Last Summer, from writer-director Leonardo Guerra Seràgnoli, Italian comics artist Igort and Japanese writer Banana Yoshimoto. Rinko Kikuchi stars.

Also among Italian films on the slate are Pasquale Scimeca's first film in four years - Biagio, and Claudio Noce's Alps-set thriller The Ice Forest, which marks Emir Kusturica's first lead acting role.

Challenges

Mueller's tenure in Rome has been characterised by annual reconfiguration, often coming from on high, including date changes and a hefty budget reduction over his three years in charge.

"One of the highlights of the festival is that we managed to be here at all this year, considering the budget cuts and spending review," he says.

"We could only start work [with certainty of the festival taking place] from mid-June onwards. …

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