Helmer will receive Golden Lion at fest

Italo auteur Marco Bellocchio will be awarded the Golden Lion for lifetime achievement at the 68th Venice Film Festival.

Bellocchio established himself as a leading Italian director in 1965 with his first feature, “I pugni in tasca” (Fists in the Pocket), about the twisted pschodynamics of an inbred family.

More than 20 films later, his latest, “Vincere,” about 1940s dictator Benito Mussolini and his secret wife and illegitimate son, became a global arthouse release after its 2009 Cannes bow.

“With each new film, Marco Bellocchio leads you to yet another destination, different from those you thought you had already reached and discovered,” said Venice topper Marco Mueller.

The fest cited “Vincere’s” success as confirming Bellocchio’s standing as one of the three major Italian screen directors still active today, alongside Bernardo Bertolucci (honorary Golden Lion in 1975) and Ermanno Olmi (honorary Golden Lion in 2008).

Other standout Bellocchio titles include erotic psychodrama “Devil in the Flesh,” 1986, costumer “The Prince of Homburg,” 1997, and political drama “Good Morning, Night,” which won the Venice Special Jury Prize in 2003.

Bellocchio, who has not yet won a regular Golden Lion, first attended Venice in 1967 with his second film, “China Is Near,” which took the Lido’s special jury prize.

This year, following the awards ceremony, Venice will screen Bellocchio’s new cut of 1971 satire “In the Name of the Father,” which, in an unusual twist for a redux, is 19 minutes shorter than the original at 90 minutes. Venice runs Aug. 31-Sept. 10.

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