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VENICE FILM FESTIVAL

FILM

Jonathan Demme to get Venice award

Silence of the Lambs director Jonathan Demme is to be presented with the Visionary Talent award at the upcoming Venice Film Festival, organizers announced on Friday.

Jonathan Demme to get Venice award
Silence of the Lambs director Jonathan Demme. Photo: Gabriel Buoys/AFP

Demme, who will receive the prize on September 3rd, was described by Festival director Alberto Barbera as a member of “that generation of cinephile auteurs who revolutionized Hollywood in the Seventies” and who was capable of moving easily between studio and independent productions, and from fiction to documentary work.

The 71-year-old is a regular in Venice and is due to chair the jury for the Horizons world cinema section of this year's festival which runs September 2nd-12th in the city of canals.

Demme has made over 30 films in a career spanning five decades, including 1991's “The Silence of the Lambs,” for which he won the best director Oscar, the acclaimed “Philadelphia” (1993) and “Married to the Mob” (1988).

His latest film, “Ricki and the Flash”, starring Meryl Streep, was released in the United States earlier this month.

Last year's Visionary Talent award went to US actress Frances McDormand in recognition of her 30-year career.

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VENICE

Italy to pay €57m compensation over Venice cruise ship ban

The Italian government announced on Friday it would pay 57.5 million euros in compensation to cruise companies affected by the decision to ban large ships from Venice's fragile lagoon.

A cruise ship in St Mark's Basin, Venice.
The decision to limit cruise ship access to the Venice lagoon has come at a cost. Photo: Miguel Medina/AFP

The new rules, which took effect in August, followed years of warnings that the giant floating hotels risked causing irreparable damage to the lagoon city, a UNESCO world heritage site.

READ ALSO: Venice bans large cruise ships from centre after Unesco threat of ‘endangered’ status

Some 30 million euros has been allocated for 2021 for shipping companies who incurred costs in “rescheduling routes and refunding passengers who cancelled trips”, the infrastructure ministry said in a statement.

A further 27.5 million euros – five million this year and the rest in 2022 – was allocated for the terminal operator and related companies, it said.

The decision to ban large cruise ships from the centre of Venice in July came just days before a meeting of the UN’s cultural organisation Unesco, which had proposed adding Venice to a list of endangered heritage sites over inaction on cruise ships.

READ ALSO: Is Venice really banning cruise ships from its lagoon?

Under the government’s plan, cruise ships will not be banned from Venice altogether but the biggest vessels will no longer be able to pass through St Mark’s Basin, St Mark’s Canal or the Giudecca Canal. Instead, they’ll be diverted to the industrial port at Marghera.

But critics of the plan point out that Marghera – which is on the mainland, as opposed to the passenger terminal located in the islands – is still within the Venice lagoon.

Some aspects of the plan remain unclear, as infrastructure at Marghera is still being built. Meanwhile, smaller cruise liners are still allowed through St Mark’s and the Giudecca canals.

Cruise ships provide a huge economic boost to Venice, but activists and residents say the ships contribute to problems caused by ‘overtourism’ and cause large waves that undermine the city’s foundations and harm the fragile ecosystem of its lagoon.

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