Venice winners celebrate after awards ceremony

Venice winners celebrate after awards ceremony

Venice winners celebrate after awards ceremony

Written by Staff Writer

11 Sep, 2016 | 6:13 am

The winners of the top prizes of the 73rd edition of the world’s oldest film festival reacted with a mix of amazement and joy at receiving their awards at the closing ceremony on Saturday (September 10).

A black-and-white movie about a woman’s thirst for revenge and her feelings of forgiveness after 30 years in jail for a crime she did not commit won the Venice Film Festival’s top prize on Saturday.

Director Lav Diaz has described “Ang Babaeng Humayo” (“The Woman Who Left”) as a testimony to the struggles of the Philippines after centuries of colonial rule and its aftermath, and he dedicated the Golden Lion award to his homeland and to humanity.

“It’s an affirmation, we are happy, I’m happy for the people who for it and I’m happy for cinema. It’s a celebration for cinema. Always,” the 57-year-old director said.

“It’s the night for cinema, not just me. The vision was stability, I dedicate this to humanity, to stability, for world peace,” he added.

The film has a running time of almost four hours and Diaz said he hoped his victory would help inspire other film-makers.

“Yeah, maybe it can emancipate the issue that cinema is not just two hours, not just one and half hours. Cinema is still very young. You can still push it,” he said.

“Maybe there will be money coming. No, it’s a joke, man. Even without money I still do cinema. I love cinema. I have faith in cinema,” he said.

“La Region Salvaje” (“The Untamed”) by Mexican director Amat Escalante who shared the best director award, has received a mixed reaction from audiences and journalists.

“It’s difficult to measure it but I’m glad that some people love it and some people hate it, that I’m not so happy about. I don’t even know if they hate it but anyway, a lot of people love it and that’s what I’ve noticed and I want to focus on that but it’s mostly, I feel it’s my most well-received film so far, that’s what I feel,” he said.

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

“At first I was very excited, then one thinks about what you want to say, whom you want to thank, but suddenly your mind goes blank and the only thing left is the rush. But it’s very beautiful,” the youngster said.

American Emma Stone took the Best Actress prize for her role in the musical “La La Land” and Argentine actor Oscar Martinez was named Best Actor for his performance in the comedy-drama “El Ciudadano Ilustre” (“The Distinguished Citizen”).

“I take it as a recognition and that is of course a privilege. I am fortunate to be fairly used to receiving awards and tributes but receiving an award from the Venice Film Festival is something very special. But using the word consecration, it is not a word I like because we as actors need to prove every time that we are as good as our last job. This is my work. So, I take it as a recognition that makes me happy and I feel touched,” said Martinez.

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 Escalante.

“I don’t think making movies is easy for anyone. I think it’s hard. It’s a lot of fun though and I think everyone here is probably incredibly passionate about what they do. When I said that fashion was the hardest industry in the world, what I meant by that was that we have to be creative on a calendar, constantly, constantly, constantly. So, maybe I was just in a particularly exhausted mood that day from fittings when I said that. I think every industry at a certain level is incredibly hard, incredibly competitive and very difficult to realise your dreams as I’m sure everyone at this table will tell you,” Ford told reporters at a winners’ news conference.

Konchalovsky said he hoped his film would serve as a reminder of the importance of the past.

“Western civilisation, the whole human civilisation is losing its memory because of Internet. Young people don’t want to remember anything because they have every answer in the computer. I don’ t remember the telephone number of my wife, I push a button. I remember the telephone of my grandfather who died fifty years ago but I don’t remember…the question is today, how will we preserve the memory young generations. First of all I know that all of us are doing films for people who don’t eat, don’t chew popcorn in the film, in the projection. We don’t want them to chew,” he said, prompting an applause from journalists and his fellow winners.

Jury member Lorenzo Vigas who last year won the Golden Lion award with his film “Afar” said he hoped the winning movie would make people take time to appreciate the art form.

“I think it’s important, in a moment when no one takes their time to see anything, everything is in a rush, to have this film awarded so that people will have to take their time to see it,” he said.

“We all really liked the film. It was an easy decision,” he added.

Jury president, director Sam Mendes, said the experience had been an inspiring one.

“It’s really reawakened my enthusiasm for a lot of independent cinema and I’ve gone away with a long list of movies, you know, movies that have been made my some of these film makers before, movies that other people have suggested, I have a long list of movies to see now because I’ve been re-exited by cinema so for me it’s been a great experience,” he said.

Mendes’s co-jury member Gemma Arterton echoed his words.

“The best bit of this whole festival is the discussions we had, the jury discussions because I had immediate reactions to certain films, once we discussed them and I was discussing them with Joshua Oppenheimer or Sam, or Laurie Anderson, it really opened my eyes. It doesn’t mean to say I liked the films still but I just appreciated and I gave my opinions on various things as well. I loved that. That’s what cinema should be about. I think we are so used to being told what we should like, we get a very narrow selection of films that get released that get certain prizes. I think it’s such a shame because there is so much more out there that is so worthy of discussion,” she said.

A total of 20 films were screened in competition for the main prizes at the Venice Film Festival, which opened on August 31 with the premiere of Damien Chazelle’s musical “La La Land.”

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