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Pieta takes top award at Venice Film Festival


Story by Jack Foley

PIETA, a South Korean film about a brutal debt collector, has taken the Golden Lion award at the Venice Film Festival (2012).

Directed by Kim Ki-duk, the film follows the fortunes of a debt collector as he is forced to examine his life when a woman turns up claiming to be his mother.

A clearly delighted Ki-duk sang a song to the audience upon collecting his trophy before thanking the jury.

Speaking afterwards, he told the BBC: “This is a song that we Koreans sing when we are sad, when we feel alone, when we feel desperate, but also when we’re happy.”

Pieta‘s success came at the expense of The Master, which had been seen as the favourite going into the awards ceremony.

However, that film – directed by Paul Thomas Anderson – landed a joint best actor prize between its co-leads Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix.

The Master follows a naval veteran (Phoenix) as he arrives home from war unsettled and uncertain of his future until he falls under the spell of an organisation known as The Cause and its charismatic leader (Hoffman).

The religious allegory is widely thought to have been inspired by Scientology founder L Ron Hubbard.

The film also picked up the Silver Lion award for best director for Anderson, who did not attend the ceremony.

However, Hoffman, who also collected Phoenix’s award, said: “Joaquin Phoenix is a life force in this film… and I kind of rode that life force and that was my performance.

“It was really riding his life force because it was something that was untameable and my job was to try to and it was almost impossible, which is kind of the movie.”

He also praised Anderson, describing him as “a friend first, [a] collaborator second”.

He added: “He happens to be one of the great film-makers.”

The best actress prize went to Hadas Yaron for Fill The Void, a film that delves into the life of an ultra-Orthodox Jewish community.

This year’s Venice jury was headed by US director Michael Mann who was on hand to present Ki-duk with his top prize.

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