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Turin Film Fest gets back to its roots

'eXistenZ,' 'South Park' to open Italian event

ROME — Reaffirming the roots of the Turin Film Festival as a showcase for young talent and for unconventional, cutting-edge cinema, new fest director Stefano Della Casa has unveiled his lineup of over 300 titles for the Italian event’s 17th edition, which kicks off Nov. 19.

The fest opens with a double bill of David Cronenberg’s “eXistenZ” and “South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut,” and closes Nov. 27 with the director’s cut of Joel and Ethan Coen’s debut, “Blood Simple.”

Taking over this year from former chief Alberto Barbera, who moved on to head the Venice Film Festival, Della Casa has assembled a competition slate that highlights creative resourcefulness over financial resources.

Competitive field

Competition entries include John-Luke Montias’ Hell’s Kitchen drama “Bobby G. Can’t Swim” (U.S.), Christina Andreef’s story of a painful family reunion, “Soft Fruit” (Australia), Laurent Cantet’s docustyle drama about father-son and worker-employer conflicts, “Human Resources” (France) and Murali Nair’s “Throne of Death” (India), which won the Camera d’Or this year in Cannes. Representing Italy is Gianni Zanasi’s “Fuori di me” and newcomer David Emmer’s drama about a mother and son, “A Non-Violent Life.”

Also competing are Hayakawa Wataru’s “7/25” (Japan), Csaba Bollok’s “North By North” (Hungary), Mahmoud Ben Mahmoud’s “Les Siestes grenadine” (Tunisia), Manuel Mozos’ “Quando troveja” (Portugal), Aoyama Shinji’s “Shady Grove” (Japan) and Urszula Urbaniak’s “The Junction” (Poland).

Returning for a third edition is the fest’s popular Americana sidebar devoted to feature and documentary production that falls outside the commercial mainstream. The section includes Italian premieres of John Waters’ “Pecker,” Wes Anderson’s “Rushmore,” Allison Anders’ and Kurt Voss’ “Sugar Town” and two features by Alexander Payne, “Citizen Ruth” and “Election.”

Payne will be a member of the international competition jury, along with French thesp Julie Delpy, Italian critic Enrico Ghezzi, African director Idrissa Ouedraogo, whose extensive output of short films will be shown, and Portuguese helmer Alberto Seixas Santos.

The main director spotlight will focus on John Carpenter, with a complete retrospective of his work. Highlights include a Q&A session between Carpenter and Italian horrormeister Dario Argento.

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