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Fairy tale shapes up to take top film prize

China Daily | Updated: 2017-09-11 08:55

VENICE, Italy - Mexican director Guillermo del Toro's The Shape of Water, a dark fairy tale in which a mute cleaning lady falls in love with an aquatic creature, won the Golden Lion award for best film at the Venice Film Festival on Saturday.

The film beat contenders including George Clooney's Suburbicon and Alexander Payne's Downsizing at the end of a 10-day, high-quality and star-studded movie marathon that critics said showed Venice was now on an equal footing with the widely revered Cannes film festival.

"As a Mexican, I want to say this is a first for a Mexican storyteller so I want to dedicate and give the prize to every young Mexican filmmaker or Latin American filmmaker that is dreaming to do something in the fantastic genre, as a fairy tale, as a parable, and is faced with a lot of people saying it can't be done. It can," del Toro said.

The runner-up Grand Jury prize went to family tragedy Foxtrot by Israel's Samuel Maoz, while France's Xavier Legrand was picked as best director for his divorce drama Jusqu'a la Garde (Custody).

Charlotte Rampling received the best actress award for her performance in Italian film Hannah, while Palestinian Kamel El Basha took the best actor prize for his role in The Insult.

The award ceremony brings down the curtain on the Venice festival, the world's oldest, which is seen as a launchpad for the industry's award season.

Moviemakers will be hoping for a replay of the success of films such as musical La La Land, clergy sex-abuse drama Spotlight, space movie Gravity and backstage comedy Birdman, which all won Academy Awards after premiering in Venice.

"This is an incredible day for Mexican film, for Mexican storytellers. The three amigos have now conquered the Lido, with Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity) and Alejandro Inarritu (Birdman) both going on to Oscar gold after dominating Venice," said Ariston Anderson, a film critic at Hollywood Reporter.

The big disappointment of the night was Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, starring Frances McDormand, which only won best screenplay.

The film, a portrayal of vengeance in small-town United States, was acclaimed by critics in Venice as a prime Oscar contender.


 Fairy tale shapes up to take top film prize

Guillermo del Toro kisses the Golden Lion after winning best film for The Shape of Water at the 74th Venice Film Festival in Italy on Saturday.Domenico Stinellis / Associated Press

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