Men of Honor

Prolific Italo producer Dino de Laurentiis will be honored at the Venice Film Festival with a career Golden Lion as part of a retrospective dedicated to eight moguls of the Italian film industry between the 1940s and 1970s.

The 84-year-old son of a pasta maker started out as a production supervisor on “Troppo tardi t’ho conosciuta” in 1939, and went on to produce an eclectic range of cinema. His credits include Italo arthouse classics such as “Bitter Rice,” Fellini’s “La Strada” (1954) and “Nights of Cabiria” (1957); camp classics like “Barbarella,” “Mandingo” and “Conan the Barbarian” (1982); well-regarded dramas such as “War & Peace” (1956) and “Serpico” (1973); and box office hits like “U-571″ (2000), “Hannibal” (2001) and “Red Dragon” (2002). He is working on a biopic of Alexander the Great that Baz Luhrmann is to direct.

In all, he has financed, produced or distribbed more than 600 pics, including those made when he partnered with Carlo Ponti. Besides Fellini, the producer has worked with such directors as Vittorio de Sica, Ingmar Bergman, Francois Truffaut, John Huston and Milos Forman.

“He is still a very active young man,” jokes fest director Moritz de Hadeln. “Along with him, we intend to pay homage to a category that has made Italian cinema great and that luckily is finding young and dynamic successors.”

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