Venezuelan film From Afar wins top award at Venice film fest

13 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

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

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. 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). Actor Abraham Attah was awarded the Marcello Mastroianni Award for Best Young Actor for his performance as a young orphan who gets drafted into the child army of a ruthless warlord (Idris Elba). 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. 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. 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.

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