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9 September, 2019 09:11:03 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 9 September, 2019 09:11:36 AM
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‘Joker’, Polanski win top prizes at Venice film festival

AFP, Venice
‘Joker’, Polanski win top prizes at Venice film festival

‘Joker’, a daring take on the comic book villain starring Joaquin Phoenix, won the Golden Lion for best film at the Venice film festival Saturday with Roman Polanski controversially taking second prize.

US director Todd Phillips -- best known up to now for the slapstick comedy ‘Very Bad Trip’ -- paid tribute to Phoenix’s intense performance, saying he was “the fiercest, bravest and most open-minded lion that I know.

“Thank you for trusting me with your insane talents,” he said.

The movie, which The Guardian had described as “one of the boldest Hollywood productions for some time”, has already sparked a heated debate.

And there were audible gasps when French-Polish director Polanski -- a pariah in Hollywood after his rape conviction -- was handed the Grand Prix second prize for his Dreyfus Affair drama, “An Officer and a Spy”.

The last two Venice winners – ‘Roma’ and ‘The Shape of Water’ -- have gone on to lift the best picture Oscar, and the festival was also the launch pad for ‘The Favourite’, ‘La La Land’, ‘A Star is Born’ and ‘Birdman’.

But almost as many headlines are likely to be made by Polanski’s win.

Having spent most of his life as a fugitive from American justice, he was accused of drawing “obscene” parallels between himself and the persecuted French Jewish army officer Alfred Dreyfus, who was the victim of anti-semitism and a miscarriage of justice around the turn of the 20th century.

Polanski, 86, has been shunned by the big studios for decades after he was convicted of drugging and raping a 13-year-old girl.

His inclusion in the main Venice competition, which included only two female directors, sparked fury from feminists.

The French-Polish auteur and Holocaust survivor did not show up at the festival, leaving his wife, French actress Emmanuelle Seigner -- who also appears in the film -- to pick up his prize to muted applause and a few isolated boos.

The head of the Venice jury, Argentinian director Lucrecia Martel, had boycotting a gala dinner for Polanski, only to be forced to clarify that she was not prejudiced against his film.

BK

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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