Venice to heap Glory on Kitano

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TOKYO -- The first recipient of the new Glory to the Film Maker! award at the Venice Film Festival will be Japanese director Takeshi Kitano.

Kitano's company said Thursday that the 60-year-old director -- who also acts and appears on a myriad of Japanese variety shows under the name Beat Takeshi -- will receive the award, which is named after his latest film, Thursday in Venice, the second day of the festival.

"I'm extremely happy that the name of one of my productions will live on in the name of an award," Kitano said at a news conference in Tokyo. The film -- "Kantoku Banzai!" in Japanese -- will screen in Venice but not in competition, where five of his previous flicks have appeared.

His 1997 film "Hanabi" (Fireworks), in which he played the lead of a policeman who clashes with the yakuza after retiring to look after his sick wife, won the Golden Lion.
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