Tarantino, Dante buzz Venice B’s

Di Leo to be feted; 'Wipeout!,' 'Scarface' among pix to unspool

ROME — Quentin Tarantino and Joe Dante are expected to attend the upcoming 61st Venice Film Festival, where the two U.S. helmers of Italian origin will be patrons and presenters of retrospective “Italian Kings of the Bs,” dedicated to vintage Italo genre pics.

In Venice, Tarantino — who presided over this year’s Cannes fest jury — will pay homage to Fernando Di Leo, the late-’70s exploitation-pic maestro, whose titles include “Wipeout!,” “Mister Scarface” and “Italian Connection.” Tarantino is known to be a fan of the late helmer.

This year’s 20- to 25-pic Venice retro is part of a broader four-year rediscovery and restoration project called “A Secret History of Italian Cinema,” for which the fest’s parent org, the Venice Biennale, has teamed up with the Prada Foundation.

The Milan fashion house will be the single private sponsor of the initiative aimed at promoting the unsung heroes of lowbrow Italian cinema by trying to get their work reprinted and distributed both theatrically in Italy and on homevid.

“From the 1930s onward, Italian cinema developed and grew also thanks to lowbrow movies, in which filmmakers dared to create the country’s first genre films, capturing the market without relinquishing their innovative charge,” said fest artistic director Marco Muller.

While the retro’s list of titles will be announced Thursday at the press conference revealing the fest’s official lineup, “Italian Kings of the Bs” will include works by horrormeister Lamberto Bava, slasher auteur Umberto Lenzi, spaghetti Western helmer Sergio Sollima and exploitation specialist Sergio Martino, all of whom are expected to be on hand.

The Venice fest runs Sept. 1-11.

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