Venice 59 - Awards
by Katiusha Salerno
- Before a young and enthusiastic audience, Monica Bellucci and Alessandro Gassman present filmmaking Maestro, Dino Risi, with this special award
“I became an actor because of Dino Risi. I made my acting debut under his guidance and owe everything to him.” An emotional Monica Bellucci thanked the veteran film director and father of Italian style comedy at this evening’s special presentation of the Lifetime Achievement Golden Lion on stage at the Lido. She was accompanied by an obviously delighted Alessandro Gassman. Many people will agree that this was one award that was, perhaps, too long in coming. “I think the behaviour of the organisers of former editions of this festival is just disgraceful,” said Gassman. “Unlike so many civilised countries, Italy, which considers itself to be a civilised country too, ignores its greats. I hope that in the future, the festival remember both my father and all those who made Italian film great.”
Bellucci made her acting debut with Risi in Vita coi figli in 1990. “It was my first film and it was here that Risi taught me the beauty of acting. He is the ultimate master and will always be a part of the history of Italian cinema. His skill in portraying each and every contradiction of human nature is unsurpassed and that is why young people still love his films.” The overwhelming majority of the audience at today’s tribute to Risi - the screening of what is probably his most celebrated film, Il Sorpasso (starring Alessandro Gassman’s father, Vittorio) - was made up of young people who gave the film a standing ovation. The impact of this film is just as strong now as it was forty years ago. “They say I am an evil old cynic,” said Risi after the lights went up, “but this was an emotional experience for me because 90 percent of the audience were young people.”
“It was right and proper to give this important award to Risi,” said Gassman. “I consider him to be the greatest director of comedies we have in Italy and the past master of a genre that for too long was considered to be second rate. Lambasted by the critic. The Italian film industry owes Dino Risi an incalculable debt.”
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