The lid has been lifted on the second Rome Film Fest, which this year features 11 world premieres.

Taking centre stage is the long-awaited directorial return of Francis Ford Coppola in Youth Without Youth, based on the story by Romanian author Mercia Eliade.

The five-time Oscar-winning director's first film since The Rainmaker in 1997 has been described as his "third renaissance" after Apocalypse Now and The Godfather.

Held between October 18th and 27th, the Rome film festival, which enjoys a fierce rivalry with its Venetian counterpart, will also feature screenings of Cate Blanchett-starring Elizabeth: The Golden Age, Robert Redford's Afghanistan drama Lions for Lambs and Into the Wild; starring and directed by Sean Penn.

"You remember how Rome opened last year, as if there were a war between Venice and Rome," festival founder and Rome mayor Walter Veltroni said at the launch press conference.

"In our country, there almost isn't anything related to public life that doesn't resemble a war."

Fourteen films have been shortlisted to compete for the festival's top prize, the Marco Aurelio award for best film, while separate awards for best actress and best actor, as well as a special jury prize, will also be handed out.

28/09/2007 09:50:29