Bertolucci bags Venice's 'Lion of the 75th'

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TAORMINA, Sicily -- Oscar-winning director Bernardo Bertolucci will receive the "Golden Lion of the 75th," a special prize in celebration of the Biennale's Jubilee anniversary, organizers said Monday.

Bertolucci -- the director of such classics as 1972's "Last Tango in Paris" and 1987's Oscar winning "The Last Emperor" -- headed the Venice jury a quarter of a century ago but has never been nominated for any of the festival's major awards.

The 66-year-old helmer is "one of the greatest directors of contemporary cinema, whose work, between poetry and history, has left a deep mark on modern cinema," the Venice Biennale Foundation said in a statement.

In his own statement, Biennale president Davide Croff called Bertolucci "a great Italian filmmaker, with the courage to give a cosmopolitan dimension to his own personal inspiration."

The award will be presented Sept. 8, during the closing ceremony of the 64th edition of the festival, which will screen a restored version of Bertolucci's "Strategia del Rango" (The Spider's Stratagem) as part of its homage to the Parma-born director.

The festival runs Aug. 29-Sept. 8.
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