Historic First: PH film wins Golden Lion in Venice Film Fest

By , on September 11, 2016

MANILA – A first for the Philippines, renowned director Lav Diaz’s latest film “Ang Babaeng Humayo” (The Woman Who Left) received the Golden Lion or top prize in the Main Competition of the recently concluded Venice International Film Festival.

“This is for my country, for the Filipino people, for our struggle, and the struggle of humanity,” Diaz said as he thanked the jury.

Winning the highest accolade in the world’s oldest festival did not come out as a surprise, though, as the Charo Santos Concio starrer received positive reviews from international critics as well.

“I really wanted to work with this director… I wanted to understand the aesthetics behind his cinema… He doesn’t manipulate the audience. He doesn’t manipulate the characters. He allows the characters to go through the journey and to feel the journey,” Santos Concio said in an interview with Reuters.

Co-produced by Diaz’s Sine Olivia and ABS-CBN’s Cinema One Originals, the nearly four hour-long film also cast award-winning actor John Lloyd Cruz.

Diaz’s winning streak in Venice started in 2007 after his movie “Death in the Land of Encantos” won special mention in the Orizzonti section. And in 2008, his film “Melancholia” won the Orizzonti award.

His Golden Lion film, “Humayo,” revolved in the struggle of a teacher who was wrongfully convicted of murder.  Locked up for 30 years, she sought for revenge.

Winning in the world’s most prestigious film festivals in Venice, Cannes and Berlin this year, Filipino independent films prove to be promising as ever.