‘From Afar’ By Venezuelan First-Time Director Lorenzo Vigas Scoops Venice …

13 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

From Afar wins top prize at the 2015 Venice Film Festival.

The film, from Venezuelan director Lorenzo Vigas, centers on the relationship between an older man, Armando, and a handsome young street thug, Elder. The first ever Venezuelan film to compete at the Venice Film Festival, From Afar (Desde Alla), won the top prize Golden Lion for Best Film on Saturday.

Lorenzo Vigas, for his film “From Afar”, (Desde Allà). “It’s first time in history that we have a film in Venice… We are an amazing nation and we are going to start talking to each other more, and we’ll get through, I’m sure about it. Through regular visits, Elder forms an unexpected intimacy with Armando, whose past prompts Elder to commit “the ultimate act of affection.” Largely considered the runner-up honor, the Grand Jury Prize went to Anomalisa, Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson’s American animated film. From Afar happened to be the directorial debut of Lorenzo Vigas in which he tells the story of a middle-aged man who pays young boys to spend time with him. Thank you very much to all, y arriba Venezuela!” he said, referring to Venezuela’s currently fractious politics. “From Afar” details the unlikely relationship struck up between a middle-aged gay man and a young street tough guy, but some critics felt it was too close in style and feel to Chile’s Pablo Larran. It was shown after the gala awards ceremony, where the Golden Lion top prize is given to the best film chosen from among 21 in the main competition by a jury headed by Mexican director Alfonso Cuaron. “I was born in a traditional Beijing hutong [narrow street], and the problem is that China has been developing at great speed in the last 30 years and seen a great development as it sought to catch up with the West,” Guan said.

He said that by showing the hooligan, played by fellow director Feng Xiaogang, in a showdown with a group of rich young people, he sought to draw attention to changes he says have affected the entire country, not just Beijing. “I wanted to describe these different groups of people, the people at the bottom of the society, the middle classes and on the top, the officials, and how they interact and the society functions,” he said. “So, what I’m aiming at is a realism.” “Being an actor was nice because it’s simple, you are there, you’re in the scene and you just have to think about one thing and about getting it right. “Meanwhile, being a director, you have a lot of things going on in your head and you have to coordinate a lot of things, so only a fraction of your attention goes to creating or to creativity. Other winning films included Beasts of No Nation about child soldiers somewhere in central Africa – the star, a 14-year old street trader from Ghana called Abraham Attah won an award as best young actor – and Free At Last, a film about the death of a child during a faith healing session directed by New Zealand-based academic Jake Mahaff won top prize in the Horizons section. And it was a second best actress award for Italy’s Valeria Golino, who beat off competition from Tilda Swinton and Juliette Binoche, and who signed her delight to the audience after picking up her statuette.

So I actually enjoyed this chance of doing something more simple and just being an actor.” Also shown out of competition as the festival drew to a close was Taiwanese director Tsai Ming-Liang’s reflection on ageing, Na ri xiawu (Afternoon). And if the acting awards went to predictable local favourites – the Italian actress Valerie Golino and French comic actor Fabrice Luchini – it is actually heartening to see actors who don’t come from Hollywood with their names in lights. This is based on the real-life exploits of a Buenos Aires family which kidnapped and murdered their affluent neighbours in the 1980s — when the country was moving from the dark days of dictatorship to democracy.

In the film, he and a longtime friend, Li Kang-sheng, hold what a festival synopsis describes as “a conversation between a dying man and his most beloved person”. “It was very difficult to make this film, it’s hard to converse with him, he doesn’t like to talk too much and is very too taciturn. Voiced by Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tom Noonan and David Thewlis, the movie was adapted from Kaufman’s stage play and talks about the mid-life crisis of a motivational speaker.

The British production had been one of the pre-festival favourites, with Oscar-winning actor Eddie Redmayne heavily tipped for further recognition for his depiction of a transgender artist’s journey from being a man to becoming a woman in the early 1930s. As well as showcasing the films in competition, this year’s festival hosted world premieres of three major Hollywood productions that will hope to be in the mix when Oscars time comes around next year.

They were Everest, a 3D drama based on a real-life disaster on the Himalayan peak; Black Mass, starring Johnny Depp; and Tom McCarthy’s Spotlight, which recounts how the Boston Globe exposed the Catholic Church’s efforts to cover up the scale of clerical sex abuse in the US city. NEW YORK, NY – JUNE 23: Bill Maher attends a DuJour Magazine celebration of 12 seasons of REAL TIME with Bill Maher at UP&DOWN presented by GILT and TW STEEL on June 23, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Mireya Acierto/Getty Images) Bill Maher of show Real Time with Bill Maher. (2014) Getty Images Photo: Mireya Acierto American talk-show host Bill Maher launched into a spirited rant against Australians who are “taking over this country”. The Pirates of the Caribbean star’s appearance on the Lido resulted in hundreds of fans camping out overnight to catch a glimpse of him with new wife Amber Heard, who won praise for her secondary role in The Danish Girl. While US presidential hopeful Donald Trump and his characterisation of Mexican immigrants as rapists and drug dealers was the ostensible butt of the merciless tirade, Maher also found space to work in a thinly-veiled snipe at Australia’s own hard-line immigration policies. Depp has been tipped as an Oscar contender for his portrayal of James ‘Whitey’ Bulger in Black Mass, in which Australia’s Joel Edgerton also won rave reviews for his performance as an Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agent who gets too close to the Irish-American gangster.

American director Brady Corbet picked up two awards for his much-admired Childhood of a Leader — the Lion of the Future prize for a debut feature and best director in the Orizzonti (Horizons) section of the festival, which provides a platform for world cinema. The film, which stars Robert Pattinson, deals with the emergence of fascism in Europe through a fable-like story of the boyhood of a future dictator in the years following the end of the First World War.

But unlike John Oliver, who has parodied Australia as “comfortably racist” and performed a hilarious riposte to agriculture minister Barnaby Joyce’s so-called war on terrier, Maher has reserved most of his ire for one of his own.

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