‘The Woman Who Left’ wins top prize at Venice Film Festival

VENICE, Italy -- The black-and-white revenge tale "Ang Babaeng Humayo" (The Woman Who Left) by Filipino director Lav Diaz won the Golden Lion prize for best picture Saturday, September 10, at the Venice Film Festival.

"This is for my country, for the Filipino people, for our struggle and the struggle of humanity," said Diaz in his acceptance speech.

The movie is the only Asian film nominated in the Best Film category and is inspired by Leo Tolstoy's short story "God Sees the Truth but Waits".

"What really struck me when I read it was that neither of us really understands life. We don’t really know. This is one of the most essential truths of existence. And more often, we abide and succumb to life’s randomness,” shared Diaz, who is also the film’s editor and cinematographer.

The 288-minute drama tells the story of Horacia Somorostro, played by ABS-CBN Chief Content Officer Charo Santos-Concio, a woman whose life has become an imprisonment with all its spins and randomness that made it very difficult, vicious, and inexplicable.

Shot in Santos' hometown of Calapan, Mindoro, the film also stars John Lloyd Cruz, Michael de Mesa, Shamaine and Nonie Buencamino, Mayen Estanero, Romelyn Sale, Mae Paner, Kakai Bautista and Lao Rodriguez.

Other winners

Andre Konchalovsky and Amat Escalante shared this year’s Silver Lion for best direction for their respective films: “Paradise” from Russia and Germany and “The Untamed” from Mexico.

Tom Ford’s noir thriller “Nocturnal Animals” from the US won the grand jury prize.

Argentine actor Oscar Martinez of “The Distinguished Citizen” and American actress Emma Stone of “La La Land” were honored with the acting trophies.

Noah Oppenheimer won best screenplay for “Jackie,” which centers on Jackie Kennedy at the time of John F. Kennedy’s assassination.

A jury led by British director Sam Mendes chose winners from among 20 movies competing at the 73rd annual festival.

The world’s oldest film festival wrapped up Saturday after 11 days that brought stars including Natalie Portman, Chris Pratt and Denzel Washington to the canal-crossed Italian city.

The complete list of winners:

— Golden Lion: Lav Diaz, “The Woman Who Left;” Philippines.

— Silver Lion director (tie): Andre Konchalovsky, “Paradise;” Russia, Germany.

— Silver Lion director (tie): Amat Escalante, “The Untamed;” Mexico.

— Jury grand prize: “Nocturnal Animals,” Tom Ford; US.

— Special jury prize: “The Bad Batch,” Ana Lily Amirpour; US.

— Actor: Oscar Martinez, “The Distinguished Citizen;” Argentina, Spain.

— Actress: Emma Stone, “La La Land;” US.

— Screenplay: Noah Oppenheim, “Jackie;” US.

— Marcello Mastroianni Price for Young Performer: Paula Beer, “Frantz;” France.

— Luigi De Laurentiis Lion of the Future: “The Last of Us,” Ala Eddine Slim; Tunisia. (With reports from AP/Sunnex)


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