Festival honors Italian director's career

Italian auteur Ermanno Olmi will receive the Golden Lion for lifetime achievement from the Venice Film Festival, celebrating his longstanding rapport with the Lido.

Olmi is the previous winner of a Venice Golden Lion in 1988 for “The Legend of the Holy Drinker,” his acclaimed adaptation of Austrian author Joseph Roth’s eponymous novella about a struggling alcoholic. In 1987, he took the Silver Lion for his comedy “Long Live the Lady!”

Olmi has been a Venice regular since 1958, when some of his earliest docus unspooled on the Lido, followed by his first feature “Time Stood Still,” which screened there the following year. In 1961, Olmi’s sendup of desk job doldrums, “The Job,” now considered a precursor of “The Office,” won the Venice Critics’ Week prize.

Venice topper Marco Mueller praised Olmi for having chosen to “live outside the standard fashions and trends, creating images and stories that help us identify with and understand mankind.”

Marking Olmi’s career Lion, a series of his early docus depicting Italy’s postwar transition to an industrial society shot by Olmi specially for a Venice section then called Edison Volta are being reissued on DVD in Italian publisher Feltrinelli’s Real Cinema series, in collaboration with the festival.

The 65th Venice Film Festival will run Aug. 27 through Sept. 6.

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