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Desde Alla (From Afar) wins Golden Lion at Venice Film Festival

Desde Alla

Story by Jack Foley

VENEZUELAN film Desde Alla, or From Afar, has won the Golden Lion prize at the Venice Film Festival.

The directorial debut of Lorenzo Vigas, the film tells the story of a rich man who gets sexually involved with a young man from one of the city’s gangs. It is set amid the chaos and violence of Caracas.

In his acceptance speech, Vigas dedicated the win to Venezuela itself, describing it as “my amazing country”.

He added: “I know we have a few problems, but if we talk about them we will overcome them.”

The problems he mentions extend to the economy, which is facing a crisis, and which has led to street protests last year over the shortage of many goods.

And just last week, Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez was sentenced to 13 years and nine months in prison for inciting violence during the protests.

Further awards at the Venice festival went to Pablo Trapero’s Argentine crime thriller, The Clan, which won the Silver Lion for best director, as well as American comedy fantasy Anomalisa, directed by Duke Johnson and Charlie Kaufman, which took the runner-up Grand Jury prize.

Frances’s Fabrice Luchini, who played a judge in Christian Vincent’s L’Hermine (Courted), was crowned best actor.

Mexican director Alfonso Cuaron was the president of this year’s Venice Film Festival jury.

He said he was pleased that a Latin American film had won the top prize, but said it was “only a coincidence” that the jury had been led by a Mexican.

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