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:: Spotlight :: Lancia Cafe at the Rome International Film Festival

By: Carmine Pascuzzi; pictures courtesy of

Lancia is the Official Sponsor of the fifth edition of the Rome International Film Festival, held between October 28 and November 5, 2010. It is hosting many local and international film stars and celebrities in the Lancia Cafe. Some are also holding press conferences for media and a group of Rome cinema students who, as part of a special Festival competition, have been invited to submit their own work and meet some of the stars and ask questions.

Two well regarded actresses attended one of the press sessions, Cecile Cassel (sister of actor Vincent Cassel) and Patron of the Festival, Valeria Solarino. In Australia we haven’t heard much, if at all, about many of the fine young European actresses who are doing fine work. Such is the fact that, sadly, Australia is a long way away and not all films gain distribution here. But it was enlightening to be a part of this festival and to meet some exceptional people in the industry.

Some of the comments that arose from the two actresses, as questioned by media and the students were:

Cecile has always been around showbiz with her brother, plus sister-in-law the great Monica Bellucci. Valeria has followed her own path, in a very individual way.

Cecile said there hadn’t been many good roles for females in France, although that is starting to change. Previously, there were good opportunities for adolescents. Valeria was asked about some of the people she has worked with, and spoke highly of Michele Placido who directed her. It was a grand experience.

The subject of being in constant work has been a touchy subject, in light of the opening night protest against lack of government support for film and television. Despite her good position of being sought after, Valeria offered her support. The cinema scene is a problem in Italy and other territories. She is happy that there are lots of new directors who are giving her roles. Cecile agreed with the hardships and said you have to be patient in the acting business. It’s been that way in France and Italy. Because of the economic recession, cinema has suffered in France. Actors probably need to be multi-lingual now, too. Valeria agreed, and added that the United States has been different as recognising the film industry as a true industry that sits on its own, and gains much government funding.

Another fine European actress to visit the Lancia Cafe and meet media and students was Russian star Ksenia Rappoport. She is one of the stars of Ricky Tognazzi’s “Il Padre E Lo Straniero”, one of the Out-Of-Competition films screening at the Festival. She has done several Italian films and is highly regarded. She held a press conference for almost an hour and offered several comments.

She mentioned working with several Italian directors, saying that they are very talented and different in their methods. They all add their own atmosphere to the set. She speaks very highly of Carlo Verdone. She said that with Carlo it is like going to school – because you learn so much. When asked about some of her favourite Italian actresses, she mentions Monica Bellucci and Margherita Buy. With regard to Ricky Tognazzi’s film, she indicated that she hadn’t read the book, but was attracted to the strong script and to work for Ricky.

On general matters, she loves visiting Italy and has been to several cities. Napoli is very full of life but Trieste is a very sad place. She loves Italian men saying complimentary things about her. When growing up, she learnt many things – singing, dancing, poetry and acting, and this has all stood up well for her career. She also enjoys working in theatre, which is very strong in Russia.

There was an interesting discussion a couple of days later when the subject matter was about Italian female directors and actresses. The panel consisted of director Maria Sole Tognazzi and actresses Anita Caprioli and Francesca Inaudi. Media and students again had the opportunity to ask questions of these guests. Some of the points to arise were:

Anita Caprioli said that it is a long course being an Italian actress and there should probably be more women in politics too. Film is a meeting - between actor and director. Women should try to get totally involved in society.

Maria Sole Tognazzi spoke of the director's need to select the right people to make the project work. It is also interesting to talk to other directors and gain ideas. She had an interest in film as soon as she started studying - as she was the youngest in a family of filmmakers. That was obviously a strong influence. She added that her documentary on her father (Ugo) was a very strong experience and important to be personal and show the rapport between her and her father. She used Super 8 camera to bring this across.

The panel asked students what they thought and expected in Italian cinema. The students generally liked the films at the Festival, noting the popularity of international films.

Anita liked watching Jerry Lewis films as a child.

Francesca said that communicating is very important with doing Italian films now.

Here are pictures of those who have visited.

Lancia Cafe above the festival red carpet
the scene inside the Lancia Cafe
Eva Mendes Eva Mendes
Maria Sole Tognazzi Carolina Marconi
GianMarco Tognazzi
John Landis
John Landis Claudia Gerini
Valeria Solarino Cecile Cassel
Andrea Bosca Claudia Zanella
Jim Loach & Emily Watson
Zrinka Cvitesic
Zrinka Cvitesic
Ksenia Rappoport
Ksenia Rappoport
Jesse Eisenberg Morjana Alaoui
Maria Sole Tognazzi Julianne Moore
Julianne Moore
Anita Caprioli

On November 3, inside the Lancia Café, great Italian actor Michele Placido presented two special awards. Young actresses Cristiana Capotondi and Micaela Ramazzotti were winners of the Lancia Musa Diva Award, which was created by the car manufacturer Lancia and voted by the readers of the magazine Ciak. The public chose the two young actresses from a selection of forty performers of Italian cinema, which also included some outstanding stars such as Monica Bellucci, Maria Grazia Cucinotta and Sabrina Ferilli. It was really an opportunity to select two great up-and-coming actresses and both young stars were thrilled to win the prize, particularly as they are still developing their performances.

Michele Placido Cristiana Capotondi
Cristiana Capotondi & Micaela Ramazzotti Cristiana Capotondi
Cristiana Capotondi & Micaela Ramazzotti
Michele Placido & Micaela Ramazzotti
Cristiana Capotondi, Micaela Ramazzotti, Piera Detassis & Michele Placido
Tosca D'Aquino Ivan Cotroneo
Boardwalk Empire's Michael Pitt
Valeria Marini