Venice honours Venezuela

From Afar, by Lorenzo Vigas, won the Golden Lion at Venice
From Afar, by Lorenzo Vigas, won the Golden Lion at Venice

From Afar, or Desde Alla – a Venezuelan film about a rich businessmen who begins a sexual relationship with a young male gang-member – won the top prize at the Venice Film Festival.

The jury, headed by the Gravity director Alfonso Cuarón, awarded the Golden Lion to the Lorenzo Vigas – a first-time film-maker and the first from his country to have a film featured in the line-up at Venice.

Argentina’s Pablo Trapero was named the best director for his film The Clan, about a real-life family of kidnappers.

With two of the top prizes going to directors from Venezuela and Argentina, Mexican Cuarón denied trying persuade the other jury members to back fellow Latin American film-makers. “I didn’t have that kind of power,” he insisted.

Other winners from among the 21 films screened at the festival were the French film L’Hermine, or Courted, which won the best screenplay honours and also picked up the best actor price for Fabrice Luchini. The jury chose Italian actress Valeria Golina as the best actress for the Naples-set drama Per Amor Vostro, or For Your Love.

The Ghanaian actor Abraham Attah was honoured as the best newcomer for his portrayal of a child soldier in Cary Fukunaga’s Beasts of No Nation and the Lion of the Future prize for the best debut feature went to the American director Brady Corbet, whose Childhood of a Leader saw Robert Pattinson play a young man who would go on to become a dictator.

But there was disappointment British talent, with no awards for Tom Hooper’s Danish Girl, in which Eddie Redmayne plays a transgender pioneer, in a performance which some had suggested could see him up for a second successive Oscar.