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The Venice Film Festival’s 2017 Jaeger-LeCoultre Glory to the Filmmaker Award will be presented to English director Stephen Frears at a special ceremony on Sept. 3, before the world premiere of his new film Victoria & Abdul.
The director of films including Philomena, High Fidelity and Dangerous Liaisons will receive the festival’s prestigious lifetime achievement award, which honors filmmakers known for innovation in contemporary cinema. Frears has received two Oscar nominations for best director for The Grifters and The Queen.
Frears has a long relationship with Venice. In 2000 his film Liam won actress Megan Burns the Marcello Mastroianni Award. In 2002 he premiered Dirty Pretty Things in Competition. In 2006 Helen Mirren won both the Venice Volpi Cup and Oscar for Best Actress for The Queen. And in 2013, Philomena won the Best Screenplay award in Venice, and was later nominated for four Oscars.
Victoria & Abdul, which screens out of competition, takes place in 1887 when Queen Victoria forms an unlikely alliance with a young clerk from India, Abdul Karim, during her golden jubilee. While her inner circle tries to destroy the new friendship, the Queen begins to open up her eyes to a changing world. The film stars Judi Dench, Ali Fazal and Eddie Izzard.
“Prolific and unpredictable, eclectic and provocative, Stephen Frears seems to challenge the very idea of a monolithic definition of his cinema. Along with Ken Loach and Mike Leigh, he is one of the most vibrant and representative exponents of contemporary British cinema,” said festival director Alberto Barbera of the announcement.
“A great narrator of stories with recurring topics,” Barbera continues, “such as his attention to oppressed and marginalized characters, in his best movies Frears has the rare gift of creating a portrait of British society: sharp, caustic, unconventional, and simultaneously disturbing and amusing.”
Jaeger-LeCoultre continues its 13-year sponsorship of Venice. Past recipients of the Glory to the Filmmaker Award are Takeshi Kitano, Abbas Kiarostami, Agnes Varda, Sylvester Stallone, Mani Ratnam, Al Pacino, Spike Lee, Ettore Scola, James Franco, Brian de Palma and Amir Naderi.
The 74th Venice International Film Festival takes place Aug. 30-Sept. 9.
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