Black comedy 'Poor Things' wins Golden Lion at Venice

11 Sep



The Venice Film Festival marks the start of the awards season. It wrapped up on Saturday night with two films about migration also taking out top prizes.


Quirky comedy "Poor Things" has won the prestigious Golden Lion award at the 80th Venice International Film Festival, which wrapped up on Saturday night.


One of cinema's most prestigious honors, the award was accepted by Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos. Venice marks the start of the awards season, and it regularly highlights favorites for the Oscars.


'Poor Things' takes out top prize

"Poor Things" is a black comedy starring Emma Stone as a sex-crazed reanimated corpse. Critics at the festival labeled the film an "instant classic." Stone, who did not attend the festival in order to support the Hollywood writers' strike, was also a producer of the film. "This film is her, in front and behind the camera," said Lanthimos in his acceptance speech.


Europe's treatment of migrants in the spotlight

Two other winning films at Lido shamed Europe for its migration policies. Italy's Matteo Garrone won best director for "Io Capitano" (Me Captain) and the film's star, Seydou Sarr, won the award for best young actor. The film follows the journey of two young boys rom Dakar, Senegal, to the detention camps of Libya, then across the Mediterranean Sea to Europe. Meanwhile, Agnieszka Holland's film "Green Border" won the Special Jury Prize. The film chronicles Europe's other migration crisis on the Poland-Belarus border.

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Actor warns of the threat of AI

American star Peter Sarsgaard, who won best actor for his performance as a man suffering from dementia in "Memory," used his speech to support the Hollywood strike and warn against the use of artificial intelligence in cinema. "We all here agree that an actor is a person and a writer is a person, but it seems we can't. 

And that's terrifying because this work is about connection," Sarsgaard said. "Without that... this holy experience of being human will be handed over to the machines and the eight billionaires who own them," he added. "So if we lose that battle in the strike, our industry will be the first of many to fall."

Another American, Cailee Spaeny, won best actress for her portrayal of Elvis Presley's wife in "Priscilla." She highlighted the deep human connection she formed with the film's subject, who also attended the film's premiere in Venice. "Priscilla trusted me with something truly complex, subtle, difficult, and personal and I was overwhelmed by the responsibility in trying to honor this delicate section of her life," Spaeny said as she accepted the award. "I have such gratitude and respect for her honesty."


zc/sri (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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