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Venice fest hails De Laurentiis

Honoree urges more film coin

VENICE — Dino De Laurentiis disembarked Monday on the Lido to receive a career Golden Lion, the first time that the Venice Intl. Film Festival has lionized a producer.

The 84-year-old native Neapolitan, who has shepherded pictures ranging from neorealist classics such as Federico Fellini’s “La Strada” to Hollywood hits including “Serpico” and more recently “Hannibal” and “Red Dragon,” delivered a feisty acceptance speech in which he urged the Italian government to provide financing for non-English-language movies.

“Let producers and directors decide what language they want to shoot in,” the pragmatic De Laurentiis pleaded, after being handed the golden statuette from Bernardo Bertolucci. De Laurentiis went on to note that “more than 80% of the U.S. film industry’s revenue comes from homevideo and TV rights, in other words product that cannot be sold with subtitles.”

De Laurentiis was accompanied by Baz Luhrmann, who came to the Lido to drum up advance publicity for their forthcoming Alexander the Great biopic, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Nicole Kidman for Universal Pictures. The duo is still seeking a 9-year-old boy to play the young Alexander and also deciding where the film will be shot sometime next year.

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