Friedkin will receive the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement
William Friedkin will present a restored version of "Sorcerer" at the 70th Venice International Film Festival this summer, the festival's backers said Thursday.
TheWrap first reported in March that Friedkin was working to remaster and release the picture in theaters. At the time, he said he hoped that a spruced-up version of the misunderstood masterpiece would be ready to screen at Venice.
In addition, Friedkin will receive the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the festival in recognition for his work on seminal films such as "The French Connection" and "The Exorcist."
Friedkin had an impressive run as part of the "New Hollywood" collection of directors like Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola who popularized a grittier and more challenging brand of filmmaking in the 1970s. He came crashing down to earth with the release of "Sorcerer," a budget-busting remake of Henri-Georges Clouzot’s "Wages of Fear." It had the misfortune of hitting theaters in 1977 just as "Star Wars" was burning up the box office and ushering in a new era of blockbuster releases.
"The zeitgeist had changed by the time it came out," Friedkin said.
The film cost the then enormous sum of $22 million to produce but grossed $12 million and failed to make back its production budget. However, the story of a group of mercenaries transporting trucks of "sweating" nitroglycerin through the South American jungle has benefited from a critical reappraisal in recent years.
“I consider 'Sorcerer' my most personal film and the most difficult to achieve," Friedkin said in a statement. "To realize that it’s going to have a new life in cinema is something for which I’m deeply grateful. To have its world premiere at the Venice Festival is something I look forward to with great joy. It is truly a Lazarus moment.”
Friedkin oversaw the restoration of the film for Warner Bros. It involved taking a 4k film resolution scan of the original 35mm camera negative and doing color saturation work.
Friedkin is back in the public eye this spring. His memoir, "The Friedkin Connection," was released in April.