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FESTIVALS Italy

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The 22nd MedFilm Festival gets under way in Rome

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- Unspooling from tonight until 12 November, the gathering will open with Brooks, Meadows and Lovely Faces by Yousry Nasrallah; the guests of honour will be Iran and Tunisia

The 22nd MedFilm Festival gets under way in Rome

Tonight sees the start of the 22nd edition of the MedFilm Festival, Italy's first and most important event dedicated to the cinema of the Mediterranean and the Middle East, which will unspool until 12 November in Rome. The historic Roman gathering has proven to be an important event that gives an overview of the region through a rich programme of 90 films, 60 of which will be Italian, European and international premieres. The festival, directed by Ginella Vocca, will take place in the Cinema Savoy, at the MACRO – Modern Art Museum in Rome, and in the libraries and cultural centres on the outskirts of the city.

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Famous Egyptian director Yousry Nasrallah will have the honour of opening the competition this evening, with the Italian premiere of Brooks, Meadows and Lovely Faces (Al Ma’ wal Khodra wal Wajh El Hassan). Three years after he took part in the Official Competition with After the Battle [+see also:
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, the Egyptian auteur, an active key player in the Arab Spring, will be back in Rome to meet audiences and critics, as well as introducing his latest work, an uninhibited melodrama that, behind its shiny outer layer, portrays the difficult day-to-day life in the complex country that is Egypt. The evening will kick off with the presentation of the 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award to Gianni Amelio. Amelio, a director who has borne witness to the passions and stories of countless men and women, tirelessly questioning cinematic form, will be honoured with a screening of The First Man [+see also:
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This year, the festival will also host two Special Showcases dedicated to the guest countries: Iran and Tunisia. MedFilm is devoting a tribute to maestro Abbas Kiarostami with the screening of his latest, iconic short film, Take Me Home. Among the other titles that make up this prestigious showcase, brimming with countless European and international premieres, we find: Scissor by Karim Lakzade’h, Life and a Day by Saeed RoostaeeA House on 41st Street by Hamid-Reza GhorbaniDaughter by Reza Mirkarimi and Death of the Fish by Rouhollah Hejazi. A country symbolising the Arab Spring and one of the most dynamic in the Mediterranean area, Tunisia is represented by The Last of Us by Ala Eddine Slim, a story about the odyssey undertaken by an African boy across Tunisia and the Mediterranean, until he completely escapes from reality, Thala My Love by Mehdi Hmili, a true love letter to the revolution, the documentary Omi Mouna’s Secret, the comedy Ghasra, the love story ...And Romeo Married Juliette and the parable Law of Lamb.

The First Love and Psyche Official Competition comprises nine films, ranging from melodrama, with the Iranian title Inversion by Behnam Behzadi, Tunisia's Hedi [+see also:
film review
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]
 by Mohamed Ben Attia and Italy's L’Accabadora by Enrico Pau, to the French-Tunisian gangster movie Chouf [+see also:
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]
 by Karim Dridi, the Jordanian prison movie Blessed Benefit [+see also:
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 by Mahmoud Al Massad, the Algerian fantasy-horror Kindil by Damien Ounouri, the French road movie Four Days in France [+see also:
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]
 by Jérôme Reybaud and the meta-cinema of the Algerian film The Trial Garden by Dania Reymond.

The International Documentary Competition for the Open Eyes Award is showing ten films united by the theme of memory: standing out among the most important titles are Between Fences [+see also:
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]
 by Avi Mograbi, Palestinian title A Magical Substance Flows into Me [+see also:
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 by Jumana Manna and Algeria's Atlal by Djamel Kerkar. Italy will be represented by the new movie by Mario Brenta and Karine de VillersDelta Park.

The collaboration between the MedFilm Festival and the LUX Film Days in Rome has been confirmed for the fifth year in a row: this year, the LUX Film Days will feature two out of the three finalists for the 2016 LUX Prize: As I Open My Eyes [+see also:
film review
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interview: Leyla Bouzid
film profile
]
 by Leyla Bouzid and Toni Erdmann [+see also:
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Q&A: Maren Ade
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]
by Maren Ade, in addition to Italy's Like Crazy [+see also:
film review
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Q&A: Paolo Virzì
film profile
]
 by Paolo Virzì, which is among the ten films in competition.

(Translated from Italian)

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