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Venice Fest to Honor Auteur Ettore Scola

Ettore Scola - H 2012
Ettore Scola

The 82-year-old director, twice nominated for Venice's Golden Lion, will bring his latest film, a tribute to Federico Fellini, to the Lido.

ROME – The Venice Film Festival said Monday it would present its Glory to the Filmmaker honorary award to Italian auteur Ettore Scola.

The award, handed out each year to a figure that has brought “major innovation” to contemporary cinema. It will be presented on the Lido on Sept. 6, ahead of the premiere of Scola’s Che strano chiamarsi Federico! Scola racconta Fellini (How Strange to be Named Federico! Scola Tells About Fellini), Scola’s tribute to Federico Fellini on the 20th anniversary of Fellini’s death. The film is screening out of competition in Venice.

Scola, 82, is no stranger to Venice: he was president of the festival’s main jury in 1998, and two of his films -- Che ora e’? (What Time is It?) and Romanzo di un giovane povero (Story of a Poor Young Boy) -- competed for Venice’s Golden Lion prize, in 1989 and 1995, respectively. Both films produced awards for their actors: Marcello Mastroianni and Massimo Troisi split the main acting prize for their work in Che ora e’, while Isabella Ferrari won the supporting actress honor for Romanzo di un giovane povero.

Scola also earned four Oscar nominations in an 11-year span: for Una giornata particolare (A Special Day) from 1977, I nuovi monstri (Viva Italia!) in 1978, 1983’s Ballando ballando (Le Bal), and La Famiglia (The Family) in 1988.

But Scola is probably best known in critical circles for his masterful 1974 comedic drama C’eravamo tanto amati (We All Loved Each Other So Much), the story of three idealists who met as partisans in World War II and experienced difficulties settling into a peacetime lifestyle. The film, considered one of the most influential films of the commedia all’italiana comedy genre, won multiple festival awards and critical acclaim en route to a successful international run.

Until making Che strano chiamarsi Federico! Scola racconta Fellini, Scola had not directed a film since 2003, when he made the comedy Gente di Roma (People of Rome). But even when he was not directing he remained active in the sector as an occasional television screenwriter, and adding his name to the high-profile industry figures siding with protesting workers at Rome’s Cinecitta Studios.

Scola was honored last year with a lifetime achievement prize by the Turin Film Festival, which is run under the auspices of the National Film Museum, which is headed by Vencie artistic director Alberto Barbera.

Barbera praised Scola in a statement, calling him “one of the most important" auteurs in Italian cinema. “He has contributed significantly to its greatness and to the appreciation is enjoys around the world,” Barbera concluded.

Twitter: @EricJLyman