Ruchika Oberoi's Island City won the FEDORA prize for the Best Young Director at the ongoing Venice Film Festival. The movie was selected by a jury of European film critics, headed by Dubravka Lakic. The award was announced last evening.
Island City, produced by the National Film Development Corporation of India, is a disturbing work of how a huge metropolis like Mumbai throttles individual freedom and desires. Oberoi strings three short stories together -- the link being the island city of Mumbai and the autocratic human behaviour.
Early Winter, an Australian-Canadian co-production starring Paul Doucet and Suzanne Clement, about a quarrelling couple, won the top prize Venice Days Award worth $22,500.
Oberoi's work was the second Indian movie at Venice this year, the other being Vetrimaaran's powerful shot at police brutality in Andhra and Tamil Nadu, Visaaranai. It competed at the Orizzonti or New Horizons section, the first ever Tamil movie to do so in the history of the Venice Film Festival, which started in 1932, predating even Cannes.
There were three shows of Visaaranai, the first on September 9 -- which was very poorly attended with just 15 viewers. The second and third screenings on subsequent days in the afternoons had many more people watching Visaaranai. One reason for this poor attendance could be the slotting of this work -- which was at the very end of the festival. Sometimes the film presenters need to negotiate strongly to get better dates -- which are anytime during the first six or seven days of the festival.
Vetrimaaran and two of his stars, Samuthirakani and Dinesh, turned up for the September 10 screening in 'veshti'.
The 72nd edition of the Festival ends today, and the main prizes will be announced late evening. Will Vetrimaaran win Venice with his Visaaranai?
(Gautaman Bhaskaran is covering the Venice Film Festival)