Portuguese Film Director Manoel de Oliveira, 92, Honored

At Venice Film Festival

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VENICE, Italy, SEPT. 2, 2001 (Zenit.org).- Portuguese film director Manoel de Oliveira, who began his film-directing career in the 1930s, was awarded the prestigious Robert Bresson prize at the Venice Film Festival.

De Oliveira is «extremely liked by film critics throughout the world [and] is considered one of the best expressions of international Catholic film,» said Archbishop John P. Foley, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, who presented the award Saturday.

The award was conferred by the Italian publication Film Review, and the artistic management of the Third Millennium Festival, with the collaboration of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications and the Pontifical Council for Culture.

«I am very moved by this award,» de Oliveira said. «At 92, I still feel as though I am 29, with many things to learn.»

De Oliveira directed more than 30 films, including «Word and Utopia» («Palavra e Utopia»), 2000; «The Letter» («A Carta»), 1999; «Journey to the Origin of the World» («Viagem ao Principio do Mundo»), 1997.

This «award is given to me under the aegis of the Vatican and Pope John Paul II who, more than any of his predecessors, has been committed and commits himself, above all, with profound dedication, to the objective of bringing all the monotheist religious creeds closer and, with tolerance, pursues the profound desire to attain peace among peoples,» the director said.

During the award ceremony, the book «John Paul II and the Cinema» was presented. Archbishop Foley wrote the book´s introduction. The work includes the minutes of the International Congress on Cinema and Spirituality, held in Rome last December on the eve of the Special Jubilee of the World of Entertainment.

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