Venezuelan director’s debut film wins Golden Lion at Venice festival

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The drama Desde Alla, the debut film by Venezuelan director Lorenzo Vigas, won the Golden Lion on Saturday at the 72nd International Film Festival in Venice.

The film, whose English title is From Afar, is about an emotional and sexually charged relationship between a teenager and an older man. The movie beat out 20 others in the competition. It is the first time a Venezuelan film has won the Golden Lion.

The president of the nine-member jury was Mexican director Alfonso Cuaron, who won the Best Director Oscar for his 2013 film Gravity.

The Grand Jury Prize went to Anomalisa, a film directed by Americans Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson about a lonely customer service guru who thinks everyone else in the world is the same person. It was made with puppets and stop motion animation.

Turkish director Emin Alper’s was awarded the Special Jury Prize for his film Abluka, which shows a civil war-shaken Istanbul.

There were two awards for the French comedy L’hermine by director Christian Vincent – best screenplay and best actor for Frabrice Luchini, 63. Luchini plays a judge who’s life is thrown for a loop by an encounter with a woman from his past.

The best actress award went to Valeria Golino, 49, for the mafia drama Per Amor Vostro by Giuseppe M Gaudino. The prize for best director went to Argentine Pablo Trapero for El Clan.

The Venice Film Festival is the oldest in the world and along with festivals in Berlin and Cannes is one of the most important in the industry. Last year’s winner was the Swedish film A Pidgeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence directed by Roy Andersson.

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