Venice fetes Sharif with Lion

De Laurentiis also skedded to receive career award

ROME — The 60th Venice Intl. Film Festival will award a Golden Lion for lifetime achievement to Omar Sharif, who is also being honored with an out-of-competition screening of Francois Dupeyron’s “Monsieur Ibrahim et les fleurs du Coran,” the latest film in which the Egyptian actor stars.

Sharif — whose career spans more than 80 films — is the first non-Italian to be lionized by second-time Venice chief Moritz de Hadeln.

Another career Golden Lion will go to producer Dino De Laurentiis at the fest, which runs Aug. 27-Sept. 6.

Sharif launched his international career in David Lean’s 1962 epic “Lawrence of Arabia” and in Lean’s “Doctor Zhivago,” perhaps his most memorable role.

The actor is also known internationally as a champion bridge player.

Sharif has worked with many directors, including Anthony Mann, Fred Zimmerman and Sidney Lumet. In coming months he will be on U.S. screens in Disney’s action-adventure “Hidalgo,” directed by Joe Johnston.

In “Monsieur Ibrahim,” Sharif plays a Muslim grocer in a poor Paris neighborhood who becomes a father figure for a young Jewish boy.

In addition, the biennale announced that Mario Monicelli, one of the pioneers of “commedia all’italiana,” will preside over the festival’s jury. The 88-year-old director helmed classic Italo films including 1958’s “I Soliti Ignoti” (“Big Deal on Madonna Street”).

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