Venice Film fest 2009: Monicelli, 94, Honored with The Great War

July 6, 2009–The 2009 Venice Film Festival will honor Italian famous director Mario Monicelli with a special screening of “La Grande Guerra” (“The Great War”), his acclaimed tragicomic pacifist picture, which won the 1959 Golden Lion.

A freshly restored copy of “The Great War” will unspool as the festival's “pre-opening” event on September 1 in the spacious open-air Arena San Polo, in Venice's historic center, 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 on its release, “The Great War,” produced by Dino De Laurentiis, is set during World War I and stars Alberto Sordi and Vittorio Gassman as two slacker soldiers who become anti-heroes.

Restoration of the richly contrasted black-and-white Cinemascope film stock has been supervised by “The Great War” legendary cinematographer Giuseppe Rotunno, using the same development and print techniques employed on the original.

The 66th edition of the Venice Film Fest runs September 2-12.