The 2021 Venice International Film Festival will pay tribute to the late, great Ennio Morricone with a screening of Ennio, Giuseppe Tornatore’s new documentary on the life and music of the renowned Italian composer.
Ennio will get a special, out-of-competition gala screening at the 78th Venice International Film Festival. The documentary takes the form of a long interview between Morricone and Tornatore, with comments from artists and admirers, including director collaborators Quentin Tarantino, Bernardo Bertolucci, Barry Levinson, Roland Joffé and Oliver Stone, as well as musicians Bruce Springsteen and fellow film composer and Oscar winner Hans Zimmer.
Ennio also delves into seldom-seen aspects of Morricone, including his passion for chess, which could reveal previously-unseen connections to his music. The film also tracks the real-world sources of many of his most iconic musical themes, such as the coyote howl that inspired the theme to The Good, The Bad and the Ugly (1966), or the rhythmic banging by striking workers in Rome that lead Morricone to compose the main theme of According to Pereira (1995).
“I worked with Ennio Morricone for thirty years, I made almost all my films with him, not to mention the documentaries, commercials, and projects that we tried unsuccessfully to put together,” said Tornatore, whose features have included the Oscar winner Cinema Paradiso (1988), The Legend of 1900 (1998), and The Best Offer (2013), all of which featured the music of Morricone. “During this time, our friendship was increasingly consolidated. Thus, film after film, as my understanding of his character as a man and an artist grew ever deeper, I always wondered what type of documentary I could make about him.”
With Ennio, Tornatore said his “dream has come true. I wanted to make Ennio to tell Morricone’s story to the audiences around the world who love his music. I structured Ennio as an audio-visual novel that relied on clips from films for which he composed the music, repertory images and concerts, to introduce the spectator to the formidable existential and artistic career of one of the most beloved musicians of the 20th century”.
In his long career, Morricone received six Oscar nominations, finally winning the Academy Award for best original score for his music to Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight in 2016, nine years after he received an honorary Oscar for his life’s work. Morricone died last year, aged 91.
Lucky Red will release Ennio in Italy, with Block 2 Distribution handling international sales. The 78th Venice International Film Festival runs Sept. 1-11.