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Back to the cinema: here is the very best that Rome’s Film Festival has to offer

The fifteenth edition of Festa del Cinema di Roma may be somewhat different this year, but not less exciting. The organisers have plenty of strings to their bow.

So we decided to pool a few films, suggested by Marco Guadagno, who will attend, as a guest, CineCampus Atelier, the series of meetings dedicated by the Roma Lazio Film Commission to all cinema-related professions. He will be there on Sunday 18 October at 11.00 am; the meeting will be available to stream at http://www.lazioinnova.it/news/streaming.

Over to the must-sees.

Let’s begin with French filmmaker François Ozon, who will also be interviewed one-to-one for Incontro Ravvicinato and will present his new feature film, Eté ’85. The film stars, among others, Italian actress Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, and it is set – as the title suggests – in the summer of 1985. Alexis is 16 years old and is on holiday at a seaside town in Normandy. One day she goes swimming and almost drowns, but is saved by David, a heroic 18 year-old boy. Alexis believes she has finally found the friend she had always dreamed of. But will this dream last more than a summer?

Next is another big shot, Danish film director Thomas Vinterberg – to be interviewed too – who will present his latest film, Druk (Another Round), which tells the story of Martin (Mads Mikkelsen), intrigued by an enthralling theory, namely that we are born with a very little amount of alcohol in our blood and getting moderately drunk could open our minds to the surrounding world, thus playing down our problems and boosting our creativity. Driven by such theory, Martin, along with three friends (all apathetic high school teachers) decides to conduct an experiment: to keep a constant level of alcohol in his blood for the entire working day. The results are positive at first, and this experiment actually turns into an academic research. But in the long run, it leads to unexpected outcomes.

We have learned to appreciate the strong films of British director Steve McQueen, who won an Academy Award for 12 Years a Slave, and we are pretty sure that, even this time, he won’t disappoint us. McQueen’s film is Small Axe, a series of five films, based on the lives of the Caribbean community in London from 1969 to 1982, the common thread being the fight against racism. The title of the series (which is also a Bob Marley song) calls to mind a Jamaican proverb about the strength of dissent: “you are the big tree, we are the small axe”.

The festival will be closed by Francesco Bruni’s long-awaited film, Cosa sarà, starring Kim Rossi Stuart. The actor will portray film director Bruno Salvati, whose life is at a sort of deadlock. His films have never been successful and his producer has problems mustering funds for his new project. His wife, whom he has recently separated from, seems to have found someone else straight away. And, to his two sons, Bruno is not the father he would like to be. One day, he is diagnosed with leukemia. He must turn to a tenacious and capable haematologist to find a compatible donor of stem cells.

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Apparently we had reached a great height in the atmosphere, for the sky was a dead black, and the stars had ceased.

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