Rome isn’t short of sights to attract visitors but in autumn it gains one more. The Festa del Cinema di Roma is an international film festival that attracts big stars – Mr T. Hanks was in town yesterday.
For an Englishman October in Rome is delightful. I know there are locals who regard October as the time to dig out winter coats and start complaining about the cold, but actually there are still blue skies, warm evenings and legitimate excuses to have another gelato. Tourists from more Northern climes are even still wearing shorts. The weather’s basically fantastic – so much so that there’s even a word for these frankly as hot as an English summer day days – the Ottobrate.
Located in the north of Rome it’s not immediately obvious how to get to the main Film Festival campus at the Auditorium Parco della Musica. Routes include a shuttle bus from Termini station and plenty more (see here for directions) but the No.2 tram from Piazzale Flaminio (just north of Piazza del Popolo) is ideal. Try to get off at Piazza Apollodoro. This is easier said than done, as it is not at all obvious which tram stop is which, so here’s a picture of what you’ll see from the right side of tram when you’re at the correct stop. See this and get off…
Cross the road and walk along Via Pietro de Coubertin. Not far and you’ll see the road blocked, people milling around with brightly coloured FESTA, CINEMA, ROMA bags. Follow the hordes and you’ll soon hit the huge expanse of red carpets which lead into the Auditorium Parco della Musica. It’s a great base for a film festival, with the main screenings showing in the Sala Sinopoli and four other screens nearby. Other screenings take place across Rome from the MAXXI gallery to EUR, where there is a Mazda MX5 drive in cinema – definitely a catch it if you can experience.
As well as the main screenings of yet-to-be-released movies such as The Accountant and Manchester by the Sea, the festival has many other strands including a Tom Hanks retrospective bringing together the major hits of the prolific American actor. Films of our lives focuses on Westerns, American politics showcases some classic hits including Meet John Doe and Mr Smith goes to Washington, whilst another retrospective brings the films of Valerio Zurlini to the screens of Rome.
With tributes, exhibitions and interviews with filmmakers such as Meryl Streep and David Mamet there is a huge amount to see and experience – far more than one set of eyes can manage. There are many free screenings in comfortable cinemas, along with special events, out of competition films and contemporary art, with Magnificent Obsession by artist Mattias Brunner showing in Studio 2 of the Parco.
Lots to see, and if you need a break from the films you can always visit the treasures of ancient Rome. It’s rather a good place for a fest.
The festival runs until 23rd October and more details are available here.