Italian director Roberto Benigni was awarded the Golden Lion for lifetime achievement at the Venice Film Festival.
The festival”s artistic director Alberto Barbera praised Benigni saying few artists have his talent, comic timing, satire and huge acting ability.
Benigni dedicated the award to “all the directors who believed in him”.
“I thank all those who have loved me and simply believed in me from the very beginning, those who introduced me to the world of show business,” he said.
“I come from a poor family, from nothing…so many people have helped me on this journey that has led me to this wonderful gift.”
Benigni, 68, was born in the Tuscan town of Misericordia and began his career in the early 1970s.
He soon became one of Italy’s most popular actors and directors and with his 1999 Oscar-winning film Life is Beautiful, which he co-wrote, directed and starred in.
Benigni recently returned to the big screen playing Geppetto in Matteo Garrone’s live-action adaptation of Pinocchio.
It was a box office champ in Italy in 2019, has been recently released in the U.S. by Roadside Attractions. It’s also been nominated for the 2021 Oscars in the costume design and makeup and hairstyling categories.
The Venice Film Festival runs from September 1-11.
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