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Rome Grand Finale: De Niro checks in to wind up the show

If this is Saturday the festival must be over, but there is still so much going on all over the festival grounds, late movie shows, crowds flocking to the Viosconti cinema exhibit, etc., that it feels like this will last forever. A big crowd is assembled out by the red carpet for the last gala, "Fascists on Mars" a new Italian Comedy set in the near future on The Red Planet! De Niro's meet the people event was situated in the large Sinopolo auditorium and clips from various of his films were shown -- (my favorite the fight between Jake Lamotta and Sugar Ray in "Raging Bull") -- including a section from his just completed "The Good Shepherd" directed by De niro and written by Erich Roth of "The Horse Whispwerers".
The brief Plot Summary for his new picture goes like this: Bottom Line; “Edward Wilson believed in America, and he would sacrifice everything he loved to protect it. The true story of the birth of the CIA through the eyes of a man who never existed.”
The pic stars Matt Damon as Wilson and Angela Jolie as his wife. Others in the cast, De Niro, Alec Baldwin and William Hurt. The excerpt shown looked very good, but De Niro himself did not look very good at all slumped in an armchair on the stage and looking older than his 63 years. He tends to mumble when he talks so that the audio porrion of all this was very garbled. Nevertheless, it was interesting to see the love for an Italian-American actor, super popular here in Italy, radiating from the audience. The Italians obviously think of him as one of their own. As far as I could tell he didn't say anything of unusual interest. Tomorrows Italian papers may carry a different story.

The day before, yesterday, it was Harrison Ford in a similar role, meeting the Italian press and public. Harrison looked quite fatigued and, although he does not mumble like DeNiro, speaks in such a soft low voice that again, one had to strain to hear what he was saying. I need to run and pack because tomorrow is getaway day, so, details on Ford's press conference will have to await a later date. The big Fordian news, however, is that he is preparing still another installment of Indiana Jones, twenty years after. Says Ford that the first three were basically the same tale with slight variations, but the next one will take into account things that have happened in the world since then (and also his aging process!). Ford has been a leading Hollywood star (and a world star) for nearly four decades (since his debut in American Graffiti) and makes no bones about being a box office actor whose main interest is in making films of mass entertainmnet. What counts for him, he says, is whether people turn out to see the picture – otherwise, why bother? In this respect he has had few misses in his long career. He is also involved in several international commitees devoted to environmental issues and had interesting things to say about stars and celebrities who associate themselves with causes. He spoke at length about the pressure of population on the resources of the planet and said that something must be done very soon to mitigate the effects on the environment on a global scale, which is to say , not only in the developed world, but in the underdevoped parts of the world as well. He is a man of measured words and serious demeanor, very much in contrast to voluble talkers like Scorcese, Dicaprio and Gere, who preceded him here in the first part of the festival.

The bottom line on the Rome Film Festival, and Fiesta, is clear as the light of day. Rome has passed the test with flying colors and Roll over Venice, Bethoven, and anybody else who thinks this film event has been just a flash in the pan. Rome is here to stay and it will be fascinating to see how it develops, what directions it take in future editions, and how the overall film festival calendar will be affected, especially here in italy..

by Alex De leon, Rome, Saturday, October 21
Alex --making for the exitrs – Arrivederci Roma!.

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