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Hollywood stars descending on Rome For Second Capitol Outing

Besides the official competition others sections are named, Premiers, Cine 2007, ExtraWith the opening of the second Rome Film festival just two weeks away (October 18 - 27) the festival organization has released an astounding guest list of Hollytwood stars and star directors expected to attend -- among them, just for openers; Tom Cruise, Cate Blanchett, Robert Redford, Francis Ford Coppola, Sean Penn, Halle Berry, and will-o-the-wisp director Terence Malik. With ten Oscar bearers on hand, 167 pictures listed for projection, 11 World Premiers, and an expected attendance of 500,000, Rome, only in its sophomore year, has already established itself as one of the main venues to be and be seen on the international film festival circuit. , and "Alice in the City", each focusing on a certain kind of cinema.

Highly anticipated are debates and encounters with major filmmakers. especially the one between Coppola and Terence Malik. Coppola once the "golden boy" of the Godfather films, and a heavy Hollywood force ever since, will break a ten year silence with a new work entitled "Youth Without Youth", which he shot completely in Romania. (As an interesting comparison, Brian de Palma, of the same generation as Coppola, shot his failed film noir, "The Black Dahlia, in Bulgaria!). The festival selectors say that the new Coppola is sure to "stir up lots of discussion" -- we'll see. Sean Penn will introduce his plea for the protection of the environment, "Into The Wild", centering on the Oddysey of a North American mountain climber, and the almost mythical Robert Redford will participate as the director of "Lions For Lambs" starring Tom Cruise, Meryl Streep, and -- himself! All of the above will be shown out of competition as special events.

Australian superstar Cate Blanchett (I guess she's earned that title by now), the latest screen Diva to desert Venice in favor of Rome (Last year it was Nicole Kidman) will present her latest film, "Elizabeth: The Golden Age" directed by Indian director Shekhar Kapur. Terence Malik, who has made only four pictures in 35 years, but is constantly acclaimed as a reluctant genius, agreed to hold a debate-encounter with F.F. Coppola before a press gathering, but under very strict conditions -- extreme conditions, one might say; No photographers, and No bantering with the scribes -- i.e., no questions and no answers! (He claims to be shy).

Says Walter Veltroni, Hizzonner, Major of the city of Rome and founding father of this festival: "We have a beautiful program this year with so many interesting films giving a Panorama of the state of health of World Cinema". If the second installment of this new festival turns out to be anywhere near as flashy and strong as the festival debut was last year -- and all the signs seem to be in place -- it's gonna be like, "Hey -- Move over, Venice, Berlin, and Cannes -- and make way for a new tough guy on the block!"

PS: For the record, Malik's four credited features until now:
"Badlands", 1973.
"Days of Heaven", 1978
"The Thin Red Line", 1998
"The New World, 2995

Alex Deleon

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