>> Rome Film Festival to see active Chinese role
Though the Rome festival will not announce its full lineup until next month, the first four announced competition titles and a Maverick Director Award to Hong Kong's director Tsui Hark has revealed the taste of the second edition headed by Macro Mueller.
Among the four films, two of them are filmed by U.S directors: "Out of the Furnace", a thriller directed by Oscar winner Scott Cooper and "Her", a romantic comedy about a man in love with his computer operating system, voiced by Scarlett Johansson.
"Another Me", a mystery thriller from Spanish director Isabel Coixet starring Sophie Turner, one of the protagonists in the acclaimed TV series "Game of Thrones", is likely to give its world premier.
"Dallas Buyers Club" from Canadian Director Jean-Marc Vallee, inspired by a true story, tells of the intense struggle for survival waged by Ron Woodroof, played by American actor and screenwriter Matthew McConaughey.
Rome artistic director Marco Mueller also announced this week Tsui would be honored with the event's Maverick Director Award. Tsui Hark, the Hong Kong-based director, producer, screenwriter proclaimed by many as one of the visionaries behind the heyday of Hong Kong cinema in the 1980s and 1990s, will be honored at the next edition of Italy's Rome Film Festival.
The festival will host the first screening of Tsui's latest film, "Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon 3D" (Di Renjie zhi shendu longwang 3D) outside of Asia, while the 63-year-old will host a special master class for film lovers at the festival.
Tsui's latest "Detective Dee" film will join what is already shaping up to be a high-profile out-of competition lineup at the festival, including the international launch of the latest film in the blockbuster "The Hunger Games" franchise and "Fear of Falling," the first film from Oscar-winning director Jonathan Demme in five years.
Mueller, now in his second year at the helm of the Rome festival, has long ties to Asian -- and specifically Chinese -- cinema. A fluent speaker of Chinese, the Italian-born Mueller studied in China and cutting edge Chinese productions were regular fixtures during his eight-year tenure in Venice, where three directors with Chinese ties won the event's coveted Golden Lion honor: Jia Zhangke for "Still Life" (Sanxia haoren) in 2006, Ang Lee for "Lust, Caution (Se, jie) in 2007, and John Woo, with a Golden Lion for "Brokeback Mountain" in 2005 and a career Golden Lion in 2010.
Among the in-competition films in the official selection, Mueller's first edition in Rome featured two Chinese films: Johnnie To's Drug War, and Feng Xiaogang's Back to 1942 (the latter, awarded the Agiscuola and IAC prizes in Rome, and subsequently winner of top awards at the Beijing Film Festival). Now, with his sophomore edition in Rome, the artistic director's connection to Chinese goes on "surprising" Chinese filmmakers. Mueller told Xinhua that there would be Chinese films to be announced of competition selection this year.
Tsui is the second director to win the new Maverick Director award following U.S. film director Walter Hill last year, and the festival announced the honor would be presented to him by French director Olivier Assayas, who was one of the first to recognize Tsui's place as one of the protagonists of the Hong Kong cinema's so-called golden age.
In a statement, Mueller praised that role.
"Tsui Hark will always be one step ahead," Mueller said. "He has never stopped experimenting, delving deep into the genres, exploring the limits of technology as he follows its non-stop evolution. He has reinterpreted the Chinese filmmaking tradition, turning the codes and conventions of western cinema upside down.
"You can be sure of one thing," Mueller concluded. "Tsui Hark will continue to leave us spellbound and amazed."
The festival runs Nov. 8-17 at Rome's Auditorium Parco della Musica venue.