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Home » Entertainment » Philippine revenge drama wins Golden Lion at Venice festival
Philippine revenge drama wins Golden Lion at Venice festival

Philippine revenge drama wins Golden Lion at Venice festival

Oscar Martinez and Emma Stone named best actor and actress

Philippine director Lav Diaz’s nearly four-hour black and white revenge drama Ang Babaeng Humayo (The Woman Who Left) won the Golden Lion on Saturday for best film at the 73 Venice Film Festival.

The runner-up Grand Jury prize went to fashion designer Tom Ford’s thriller Nocturnal Animals, while the Best Director award was shared by Russia’s Andrei Konchalovsky for the Holocaust drama Rai (Paradise) and Mexico’s Amat Escalante for La Region Salvaje (The Untamed).

Argentine actor Oscar Martinez received the Best Actor award for his performance in the comedy-drama El Ciudadano Ilustre (The Distinguished Citizen), while Emma Stone took the Best Actress prize for her role in the musical La La Land. (Reporting by Agnieszka Flak; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

Ang Babaeng Humayo is a film about a woman’s thirst for revenge and her feelings of forgiveness after 30 years in jail for a crime she did not commit. Released in the late 1990s after decades behind bars, Horacia (Charo Santos-Cancio) discovers her loved ones are either dead or gone, and her ex-boyfriend, now a wealthy underworld boss, becomes the target of her simmering rage.

The film, nominally inspired by Leo Tolstoy’s 1872 short story God Sees the Truth, But Waits, plays with the theme of moral accountability within a narrative coloured by kidnappings, transgenderism and poverty.

Mr. Diaz has described the film as a testimony to the struggles of the Philippines after centuries of colonial rule.

“This is for my country, for the Filipino people, for our struggle, for the struggle of humanity,” the 57-year-old said as he accepted the Golden Lion.

Mr. Diaz, who at the Berlin Film Festival in February had premiered a film that ran over eight hours, said he hoped the latest recognition would create more appreciation for longer movies.“Cinema is still very young, you can still push it,” he said.

Twenty U.S. and international movies featuring top Hollywood talent and auteur directors were in competition at the world’s oldest film festival. The event is seen as a launching pad for the industry’s award season.

All the movies that won awards were examples of directors’ “lack of compromise, (their) imagination, original vision, daring, and a kind of pure identity,” said Sam Mendes, known for directing James Bond movies Skyfall and Spectre, who headed the jury. “It’s taken me out of my comfort zone.”

Mr. Mendes said he hoped the awards would help the films get distributed.

German actress Paula Beer received the Marcello Mastroianni Award acknowledging an emerging performer, for her role in post-war drama Frantz.

Praise for Natalie Portman

Jackie, a bio-drama which stars Natalie Portman as the grieving widow of U.S. President John F. Kennedy, took best screenplay, with Chilean director Pablo Larrain saying the triumph was Ms. Portman’s, calling her “the only woman who could have played this role”. Ana Lily Amirpour — dubbed “the new Tarantino” by fans — scooped the special jury prize for her second film Bad Batch, a cannibal love story with Jim Carrey and Keanu Reeves about a young girl who ends up on the menu in a futuristic United States. While the film earned mixed reviews, the jury appreciated its spirit.

“Someone has made a very individual, very personal vision, whatever you think of it; that alone, the act of making that film is astonishing,” Mr. Mendes said.

But there was no recognition for Terrence Malick’s Voyage of Time, which wowed Venice audiences with its portrayal of the life and death of the universe through stunning special effects and real-life images taken from earth’s most sophisticated satellites.

Source: The Hindu

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