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Venice to pay tribute to Monicelli

Fest plans special screening of 'Great War'

ROME — The 66th Venice Film Festival will fete Italian comedy maestro Mario Monicelli with a screening of “La Grande guerra” (The Great War), his acclaimed tragicomic pacifist pic, which took the 1959 Golden Lion.

A freshly restored copy will unspool as the fest’s pre-opening event on Sept. 1 in the open-air Arena San Polo, with the 94-year-old Monicelli in attendance. The screening will be preceded by a public bash thrown by the City of Venice in the helmer’s honor.

Considered controversial, “The Great War” is set during World War I and stars Alberto Sordi and Vittorio Gassman as slacker soldiers who become anti-heroes. Pic was produced by Dino De Laurentiis.

Restoration of the black-and-white Cinemascope film stock was supervised by “The Great War’s” legendary lenser Giuseppe Rotunno, using the same development and print techniques as on the original.

Venice runs Sept. 2-12.

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