Venice Film Fest salutes 'Italian Comedy'

Sept. 1-11 event features 20-film retrospective, guest stars

ROME -- An ambitious retrospective on the history of Italian cinematic comedy will be among the highlights at the 67th edition of the Venice Film Festival, organizers said Thursday.

The retrospective, entitled "Italian Comedy: The State of Things (1937-1988)," is the creation of festival officials along with Cineteca Nazionale -- the Experimental Cinematography Center -- in Rome, and the Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities.

The program for the event includes the screening of 20 full-length films, plus several extracts, aimed at tracking the careers of some of the greatest Italian comedic actors in their heyday. Several of the actors will be on hand to discuss their works, including Paolo Villaggio, Lino Banfi, and Christian De Sica.

The sidebar event, which began in 2004, is a continuation of the festival's efforts to call attention to neglected periods in Italian film history. Previous sidebars include "Italian Kings of the Bs"; "Italian Westerns"; and "Italian Cinema Rediscovered."

This year's edition of the storied Venice festival runs Sept. 1-11.
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