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VENICE – Oscar-winning writer and director Michael Cimino was given the Venice Film Festival’s first major award Thursday, while Ariel Vromen’s indie crime drama The Iceman, screening out of competition, was the main feature in the Palazza del Cinema.
Meanwhile, Kirill Serebrennikov’s drama Izmena (Betrayal); Superstar, a comedy from France’s Xavier Giannoli; and Ramin Bahani’s family adventure drama At Any Price — all screening in competition – had their world premieres Thursday, Doha Tribeca Film Festival organizers announced they would open with Venice opening film The Reluctant Fundamentalist, and venerable director Francesco Rossi arrived on the Venice Lido yet again.
Rossi, 89, who had two films nominated for the Golden Lion twice and who won it once, for Le mani sulle citta (Hands Over the City) in 1963, will receive Venice’s Golden Lion career honor Friday afternoon.
The 73-year-old Cimino was given a Piersol career honor Thursday, ahead of the screening of Oscar-nominated historical romance Heaven’s Gate, which Cimino directed in 1981. Later, the festival held a special cocktail in his honor, where he sat in an informal setting chatting with invitees.
The Iceman, which stars Michael Shannon as famed contract killer Richard Kuklinski, was the day’s main film event. Shannon, along with co-stars Winona Ryder and Ray Liotta, appeared at a press event in which Shannon said that his chilling performance that won him critical acclaim was not nearly as terrifying the tapes of Kuklinski interviews he studied in preparation for the role.
“There is a difference between an actor playing a sociopath and an actual sociopath,” Shannon said. “He was a very frightening man.”
Doha Tribeca organizers announced on the sidelines of the Venice festival that they would open the November 17-24 event with The Reluctant Fundamentalist, the same role the Mira Nair production played in Venice. The film, which tells the story of a young Pakistani man torn between Wall Street ambitions and developments in his home country, was produced in part with backing of the Doha Film Institute.
The 69th edition of the Venice festival, which got underway Wednesday, runs through Sept. 8.
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