Francesco Rosi's Classic 'Hands Over the City' to Pre-Open Venice Fest

Rod Steiger in 'Hands Over the City'

The political drama won Venice's Golden Lion in 1963; now a digitally restored version returns to the city on the eve of the event.

ROME – Le mani sulla citta (Hands Over the City), Francesco Rosi’s classic examination of political corruption, will be the pre-opening film at the Venice Film Festival 50 years after it took home the festival’s prestigious Golden Lion award.

The film, digitally restored, will screen at the Arena of Campo San Paolo in historical Venice -- not on the Venice Lido, where most of the festival takes place -- on Aug. 27, one day before the official start of the 70th edition of the festival.

Le manu sulla citta, which also collected five nominations for the 1964 Nastri d’Argento (Silver Ribbons) awards, Europe’s oldest film honors, stars Rod Steiger as a ruthless Naples city councilman who uses his influence for personal profit. The film is considered one of the masterpieces from the long career of Rosi, who won Venice’s career achievement honor last year.

The 90-year-old Rossi -- one of the last living directors with strong ties to Italy’s Golden Age of film -- first came to Venice with La sfida (The Challenge), which won a jury prize in 1958.

The festival officially gets underway with the world premiere of Alfonso Cuaron’s much-heralded Gravity, the sci-fi thriller with an onscreen cast made up entirely of George Clooney and Sandra Bullock.

Venice, the world’s oldest film festival, runs through Sept. 7.

Twitter: @EricJLyman