Rome Film Fest: reality wins
Text Micol Beltramini
The winner of the BNL People’s Choice Award of this edition of the Rome Film Fest is Borg/McEnroe by Danish director Janus Metz Pedersen. Based on the 1980 Wimbledon men’s final, the film describes the story of the rivalry between ice Swede Björn Borg and New York ‘SuperBrat’ with Irish origins John McEnroe. Twenty-four, loved globally and seemingly unassailable, Borg is getting ready to win his fifth Wimbledon championship in a row. Twenty-year old McEnroe is more renowned for his ‘superbrat’ attitude than his tennis skills, yet he has one goal only: dethrone his idol. It does not surprise that Borg/ McEnroe is proving very popular with audiences (it was released in cinemas on November 9): it is a pop film starring two protagonist that don’t fail a single emotional assist. Shia LeBouf in particular, who admitted crying whilst reading the script, is perfect in the role of his tennis nemesis: infantile and irascible as McEnroe, he succeeded in the not easy task of making himself be loved and loathed at the same time.
The festival’s program featured also many biopics, among the titles in competition are the dazzling I, Tonya by Craig Gillespie about ice skater Tonya Harding, played by an increasingly more convincing Margot Robbie; Eugene Jarecki’s Promised Land, which compares the rise and fall of Elvis Presley and that of the US, looking ahead into an uncertain future; Maria by Callas: in her own words, a huge love declaration by Tom Volf to the last true diva and Spielberg by Susan Lacy, two hours and a half of solid cinematic enjoyment. The auteur films presented during this edition, including the still very respectable Logan Lucky by Steven Soderbergh and Last Flag Flying by Richard Linklater, come across as less convincing. Is it possible that after decades of implausible characters, the industry has finally realized that reality surpasses fiction by far?