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DIFFDIFF Journal 20178 Films that Stole the Spotlight at Venice
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8 Films that Stole the Spotlight at Venice
Sun Sep 10, 2017
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The Venice Film Festival wrapped up yesterday with a major Golden Lion win for Guillermo del Toro’s Shape of Water, which became the first English language to nab Venice’s highest honor in almost a decade.

The festival, now in its 74th edition, was an excellent showcase of cinema from all around the world and over half of its competition titles received 3 or more stars from Italian and international critics on the Lido.

Here’s a round-up of the 8 films that everyone was talking about on the Lido this year:

1. The Shape of Water

Winner of the Golden Lion and one of the best reviewed films of the fest, The Shape of Water sparked considerable buzz ever since its first rapturous press screening and was able to sustain it throughout the festival. Directed by Guillermo del Toro, it will be one of Oscar season’s most powerful players, with some tipping it already for the Best Picture Oscar.

2. Foxtrot

This emotionally intense drama nabbed the Grand Jury Prize and could factor in the Best Foreign Language Oscar race. Featuring powerful acting and inventive storytelling, it was tipped by many as a potential spoiler for the Golden Lion. Nevertheless, it scored positive reviews from audiences and critics alike.

3. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Martin McDonagh’s film about a grieving mother who decides to place three giant billboards protesting the police’s indifference and failure in finding the murderer of her daughter scored the festival’s highest ratings from audiences and critics. It won the Screenplay award and will be a strong Oscar contender this season particularly in the Best Actress (Frances McDormand) and Best Screenplay categories.

4. Custody

This French drama on how violence leads to broken marriages scored two awards: Best Debut (for director Xavier Legrand) and Best Director (Legrand). It was also buzzed for the Best Actor Award which ultimately went to the only Arab film in competition.

5. Lean on Pete

A24’s Lean on Pete featured a star-making turn by Charlie Plummer that had everyone talking. Plummer, who plays a boy who goes on a coming-of-age journey with his horse, ended up scooping the Best Newcomer Award for his heartbreaking turn in the film.

6. The Insult

The only Arab film in competition and Lebanon’s entry in the Best Foreign Language Oscar race, Ziad Doueiri’s film scored a big award: Best Actor for Kamel El Basha who gave a restrained performance as a Palestinian worker who goes into legal battle with a Lebanese mechanic.

7. Hannah

The Charlotte Rampling vehicle scored her a Volpi Cup for Best Actress and while the film itself may have divided critics and audiences, it was unanimously lauded for her stunning and affecting performance as an elderly woman who spends her day in utter loneliness after her husband faces imprisonment.

8. Sweet Country

One of the festival’s underdogs, this Australian Western film surprised many and scored the Jury Prize for its audacity and unconventional narrative.
All in all, it was an exquisite edition with unique perspectives, daring stories and bold statements made through film by visionary directors who prove, once again, how exciting cinema is as an art.
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