Rome invites Cronenberg, Cimino

'Righteous Kill' likely to screen at festival

ROME — David Cronenberg and Michael Cimino will attend the Rome Film Festival, where Robert De Niro/Al Pacino starrer “Righteous Kill” is expected to unspool in the official selection of the event, which is undergoing some largely cosmetic changes.

New Rome prexy Gian Luigi Rondi on Friday announced he is merging the “premiere” gala with the competition into a 20-title official selection, which will comprise an ample number of titles screening outside the competition, as is likely to be the case with “Kill.”

The Rome fest prizes have also been modified, so that there is now a Golden Marcus Aurelius decided by votes cast by regular festgoers, which carries E75,000 ($118,000), and a Critics’ Prize voted by a seven-member jury, also with $118,000 attached. The critics’ jury will also award male and female thesping nods.

In previous editions, Rome prizes had been decided by a jury of just 50 selected non-professional attending movie buffs.

Rondi underlined that Rome will “focus on the entertainment aspect of cinema and not art movies,” which, he said, “are for Venice.” He kept mum on confirming any titles.

However, sources say “Righteous Kill,” helmed by Jon Avnet, which had been tipped for the Lido, is now Rome-bound to best boost its October Italo launch via local distrib 01 Distribuzione. Talent for the thriller is, of course, expected, though at this stage it’s premature to say whether it will be De Niro, Pacino, or both. De Niro has previously been a Rome guest.

As for Cronenberg, the cult Canadian helmer is coming to unveil an art show called “Cromosomes” of stills from his pics, transposed to canvases, which will also be the subject of an onstage conversation at the Auditorium Theater, in Rome’s customary multi-media spirit.

Cimino is instead coming to hold an onstage conversation about his favorite dance sequences on film, likely to include his own Harvard lawn Blue Danube Waltz set piece in “Heaven’s Gate.”

The third edition of the Rome Film Festival will run Oct. 22-31.

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