The Italian Almanac

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Roman Polanski

Italian News - October 5

Top director Roman Polanski is to be given a lifetime achievement award by Italy's prestigious Federico Fellini Foundation. The 73-year-old filmmaker, actor and writer will collect the Fellini Foundation Prize - a gold-leaf statue bearing a dream-like drawing by the Italian maestro - in December.

Foundation Chairman and filmmaker Pupi Avati praised Polanski on Tuesday as "a director of remarkable stature and courage whose resourcefulness is unmatched". Polanski was particularly pleased by the honour as he is a life-long admirer of Fellini, ranking him alongside Orson Welles and Akira Kurosawa as one of the most inspirational directors ever born.

Fellini, who died in 1993 at the age of 73, is also known to have admired Polanski, rating his 1967 Rosemary's Baby among his 40 favourite films. The pair actually met in 1969, on the set of Fellini's surreal Ancient Rome dreamscape movie Satyricon. The encounter was filmed by Gideon Bachmann who made a documentary about the making of Satyricon called Ciao Federico.

The documentary includes possibly the last-ever footage of Polanski's tragic actress wife Sharon Tate, who was murdered not long afterwards by followers of cult leader Charles Manson.

Polanski will receive his Fellini award in Rimini, the Italian director's hometown, on December 16. The Fellini Foundation, which is based in Rimini, was set up in 1995 at the request of Fellini's sister Maddalena with the aim of conserving and promoting the memory of her brother and his work.