'Man Who Loves' kicks off film festival

The Rome Film Festival is going local, with romancer “L’Uomo che ama” (The Man Who Loves) opening its third edition Oct. 22.

Pic was directed by Maria Sole Tognazzi and stars Monica Bellucci and Pierfrancesco Favino.

Produced by Medusa, “L’Uomo” kicks off the gala section in what seems like a low-profile pick for a fest that opened in 2006 with Nicole Kidman on the red carpet for “Fur,” followed by Bellucci and Daniel Auteuil in 2007 for Gallic crimer “Second Breath.”

However, United Nations-sponsored “8,” which comprises shorts by eight helmers, including Gus Van Sant, Mira Nair and Jane Campion, tackling the subject of hunger, will unspool in competition the same day, providing a definite international feel.

Other previously announced Rome titles include “The Duchess,” with star Keira Knightley in tow, Teutonic terrorism drama “Der Baader Meinhof Komplex” and Isabelle Huppert starrer “Un Barrage contre le Pacifique.”

Rome organizers Wednesday also announced that veteran Italo star Gina Lollobrigida will receive a lifetime achievement award.

As for parties, AmfAR will hold its second Cinema Against AIDS benefit at the historic Villa Borghese gallery on Oct. 24, with Diane Kruger, Asia Argento, Ellen Barkin, Alan Cumming and Natasha Richardson expected to attend.

Fest’s full lineup will be unveiled Oct. 1.

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