Chaitanya Tamhane’s multilingual Court clinched two important prizes as the 71st Venice International Film Festival drew to a close.
The movie won the Lion of the Future Award for the best first feature in the Festival. The honour carries a cash prize of $ 100,000 to be shared between the director and the producer.
Court was also adjudged the best film in the Orizzonti or Horizons category, which is the most important section after Competition and Outside Competition.
The other Indian movie in the Festival, Labour of Love by Aditya Vikram Sengupta, went home empty handed. The night’s biggest accolade and Festival’s top prize, Golden Lion went to The Swedish director, Roy Andersson’s absurdist poetic drama, A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence. Andersson, who is 71 and has only made five films till now, thanked "Italian cinema, particularly Bicycle Thieves. Cinema should be full of empathy, just like De Sica’s movie!" |
The titles at Venice this year were full of harsh realism and poetry. The Chairman of the jury, Alexandre Desplat, said while announcing the awards that the "10 days and 20 movies were characterised by intense moments of impassioned debate, but with immense enjoyment".
The jury, which also had Joan Chen, Philip Gröning, Jessica Hausner, Jhumpa Lahiri, Sandy Powell, Tim Roth, Elia Suleiman and Carlo Verdone, chose "films whose vision allowed us to understand their philosophical and political side, and those which moved us with their poetic and humanistic angle. It’s a tall order to judge your colleagues. Long live music, long live cinema!" was Desplat’s concluding words.
The Silver Lion for Best Director also went to a northern European, Andrej Konchalovskij, for The Postman's White Nights. "This is a strange sensation,” he remarked, “because 52 years ago I was on this stage receiving my first Lion. I’m as happy as I was then, as happy as a child. There is a child inside all of us filmmakers, thank God. But tomorrow, we will wake up as adults."
Also widely expected was the Grand Jury Prize for The Look of Silence by Joshua Oppenheimer. The helmer, who could not make it to the awards ceremony because he was stranded in a Chicago airport, sent a video message. The Look of Silence talks about a survivor of a genocide which followed the revolution in Indonesia.
"Even though the movie doesn’t come full circle, it has begun a healing process", Oppenheimer said. Roth stepped in to add that the film “is a spectacular masterpiece, a film that moves me beyond words, like watching the birth of your child".
The Volpi Cup for Best Actor was given away to American actor Adam Driver for Hungry Hearts by Saverio Costanzo. The Volpi Cup for Best Actress also went to the same movie – Alba Rohrwacher.
Tales by Iran’s Rakhshan Banietemad got the Best Screenplay Award, while the Special Jury Prize went to Turkey’s Sivas by Kaan Mujdeci.
(Gautaman Bhaskaran covered the 71st edition of the Venice International Film Festival)