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Martin Scorsese, Sigourney Weaver, Giuseppe Tornatore Set for Rome Film Festival

Martin Scorsese, Sigourney Weaver, Giuseppe Tornatore and French multi-hyphenate Pierre Bismuth will hold onstage conversations at the upcoming Rome Film Festival, which Monday announced the world premiere of Italian director Paolo Virzi’s new comedy, “Notti Magiche,” as its first title.

Scorsese, as previously announced, is being honored with a lifetime achievement award by the fest and will hold forth Oct. 22 with artistic director Antonio Monda on the Italian films he considers most influential, one of which is Pier Paolo Pasolini’s “Accattone,” Monda said. Scorsese is scheduled to see Pope Francis the following day, Monda said, then reappear on the Rome fest stage Oct. 24 to present the freshly restored version of a still undisclosed Italian classic. There is a possibility that Scorsese may show footage from his long-gestating gangster pic “The Irishman.”

The Oscar-winning director will receive his achievement award from Paolo Taviani, the surviving member of venerable directorial duo the Taviani brothers.

Monda will also handle the onstage conversations with Weaver, Tornatore and Bismuth, winner of a screenwriting Oscar for “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.” The chats, called Close Encounters, have become a trademark of the Rome event, and the subjects usually make the trek to Rome purposely to participate in the onstage talk rather than to promote a film, Monda said.

Virzi’s “Notti Magiche,” set to premiere in Rome as a special event, marks the prominent Italian director’s return to Italian-language filmmaking following “The Leisure Seeker,” which starred Helen Mirren and Donald Sutherland. It’s a smaller-scale project about the misadventures of a group of young Italian screenwriters in Rome who become prime suspects of murdering a producer whose dead body is found in the Tiber.

Rome will also be dedicating retrospectives to Peter Sellers and late French director Maurice Pialat, who won the 1987 Cannes Palme d’Or for “Under Satan’s Sun.” Iconic Italian actor Marcello Mastroianni is being celebrated with a high-profile exhibition.

The complete lineup of the Oct. 18-28 fest will be unveiled Oct. 5.

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