Eagerly anticipated for several months now, because former Venice Film Festival head Marco Mueller had been playing up his desire to turn the Rome Film Festival — which he is now the artistic director of — into a major fall film festival player, the line-up was announced this AM. And in typical online fashion, there was minor griping about the absensce of hotly rumored titles like Quentin Tarantino's upcoming slave drama "Django Unchained," Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln" (which surprise-screened at the New York FIlm Festival), Gus Van Sant's "Promised Land," and Tom Hooper's "Les Misérables," among others.
However, in speaking to Reuters, Muller said that Rome will add "two more" film surprises and then heavily hinted that QT's film would be one of them (maybe that's how they do it in Italy). "You will see Tarantino soon, here. You will see him here soon for a big surprise," Mueller said, "This is something we will announce in detail in a few days' time, and you will see that 'Django' will be stepping on the stage of the Auditorium."
Ok, so maybe that's more than just a hint? Let's just say it bodes really, really freakin' well… and more. So what's that second surprise going to be?
According to Reuters, "film bloggers" are guessing Nicolas Winding Refn's "Only God Forgives" starring Ryan Gosling, but we personally wouldn't take that bet and think it sounds like wishful thinking. The 2012 schedule is crowded and pretty much full at this point. If you're releasing a film last minute at this point it's because you're hoping for it to qualify as an Oscar contender, which is likely not the case with "Only God Forgives," a drama/thriller about a Bangkok police lieutenant and a gangster who settle their differences in a Thai-boxing match. Our guess is Refn will save that picture for Cannes. But we've been known to be wrong before. We imagine that announcement will come soon (but then it won't be a surprise, right? Silly Europeans).
As for Rome vs. Venice, Mueller's former digs, is there now a rivalry? "My take on Venice is that Venice will always continue to exist as a major platform to create the visibility and the right profile for a film," Mueller said, "In Rome we have the possibility of doing something very different."
The Rome Film Festival runs November 9-17.