Rome’s Extra sidebar spotlights indies

U.S., European films play major part in festival

U.S. and European indie pics play prominently in the Rome Film Festival’s Extra sidebar, a mix of cutting-edge and vintage offerings including onstage conversations with Al Pacino, Wes Anderson, Michael Cimino and David Cronenberg.

The 27-pic selection, 12 of which are docus, will see Sundance standouts “Baghead” and docu “Man on Wire” unspool alongside the international bow of Danish Dogma helmer Thomas Vinterberg’s new drama “When a Man Comes Home.”

Gallic helmer and former Cahiers du Cinema critic Olivier Assayas will be on hand with his “L’heure d’ete” (Summer Hours), to be followed by a public chat.

The all-formats section also sees a selection of animation shorts by California Institute of the Arts 2008 graduates; the John Walter docu “Theater of War,” which delves into Meryl Streep preparing her stage perf in Bertolt Brecht’s “Mother Courage”; and Morgan Spurlock’s docu “Where in the World Is Osama Bin Laden?”

Belgian movie “JCVD,” in which Jean-Claude Van Damme parodies his action-stud persona, segues from Toronto, while Peter Greenaway’s “Rembrandt’s J’accuse,” which links a Rembrandt painting to a murder plot, will unspool in Rome after preeming in Pusan.

Pacino will be feted by the Eternal City fest on opening day, Oct. 22, with a previously announced lifetime achievement nod.

Anderson is coming on behalf of Martin Scorsese’s The Film Foundation to present a new print of Albert Levin’s 1951 fantasy “Pandora and the Flying Dutchman,” starring Ava Gardner and James Mason, restored by the foundation in tandem with the Rome fest.

Cronenberg will unveil Chromosomes, an art show of his movie stills, and also will be feted with a retro, while Cimino will hold a public conversation about his favorite dance sequences on film, likely to include his Blue Danube Waltz set piece in “Heaven’s Gate.”

Besides Extra, the fest’s other sidebar is a focus on new Brazilian cinema that will kick off with culinary comedy “Estomago: A Gastronomic Story” and include recent smash local hit “My Name Ain’t Johnny” by Mauro Lima.

As previously announced, helmer Edoardo De Andrade’s docu “Coracao Vagabundo,” dedicated to pop sensation Caetano Veloso, will unspool with Veloso on hand to perform following the screening.

A lavish Brazilian carnival-like party on Rome’s Piazza Navona, choreographed by multi-tasking musician Arto Lindsay, will be the centerpiece of the fest’s opening-day celebrations.

The Rome Film Festival runs Oct. 22-31. The main lineup will be announced Oct. 1.

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