Home Top News John Arcilla wins Best Actor at the Venice Film Festival

John Arcilla wins Best Actor at the Venice Film Festival

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A DAY before the 78th Venice International Film Festival’s awarding ceremony, actor John Arcilla posted on Instagram a roster of photos of actors who won the Volpi Cup for Best Actor. Part of his caption read, “…I wish I can have one someday!”

At the awarding ceremony on Sept. 11, Mr. Arcilla’s wish came true as he was awarded the Volpi Cup for Best Actor for the film, On the Job: The Missing 8.

He joins previous winners of the Volpi Cup for Best Actor including Brad Pitt, Colin Firth, Liam Neeson, Joaquin Phoenix, Javier Bardem, Ben Affleck, and Sean Penn.

Happening (L’evenement), a hard-hitting French drama about illegal abortion in the 1960s, won the Golden Lion award for best film at the Venice festival on Saturday.

The film, by director Audrey Diwan, wowed viewers on the Lido waterfront with its portrayal of a young woman desperate to arrange a termination, at a time when it could mean a prison term or death, to continue with her studies.

Among other awards, the runner-up Grand Jury prize went to Italian director Paolo Sorrentino for The Hand of God, his deeply personal film about losing his parents as a teenager.

Spain’s Penelope Cruz won the best actress prize for playing a single mother in Pedro Almodovar’s Parallel Mothers.

OTJ: THE MISSING 8 GOES ON TV
On the Job: The Missing 8 made its world premiere at the Main Competition of this year’s Venice International Film Festival.

The 208-minute crime thriller is a sequel to On the Job (released in 2013). Directed by Erik Matti and written by Michiko Yamamoto, the story follows journalist Sisoy Salas (played by Mr. Arcilla) who investigates the disappearance of his colleagues and of Roman Rubio (Denis Trillo), a prisoner temporarily brought out of prison to carry out executions.

“I know that we come from different countries, and we have different languages and cultures. And yet, I can feel oneness tonight. And I can feel that you understand me, and we understand each other because of the art of cinema. So, thank you so much,” Mr. Arcilla said in a video of his acceptance speech shown during the ceremony. The actor had not been able to go to Italy for the festival.

At the awarding ceremony in Venice, which was streamed on the Biennale Channel on YouTube, the film’s director Mr. Matti accepted the award on Mr. Arcilla’s behalf.

A combination of the first film and its sequel was developed into a TV series titled, On the Job: The Series. The six-part series which includes never-before-seen footage from the first film is available to stream on HBO Go beginning today.

RELEVANT FILM
The festival’s top winner, Happening, is set in France in 1963 but its central theme is as relevant today as it was then, its visibly moved director Ms. Diwan told the audience at the awarding ceremony, just as the debate about abortion rages again in the United States following new restrictions in Texas.

“I did this film with anger, with desire, with my belly, my guts, my heart and my head,” she said.

The awards ceremony wrapped up the 11-day movie marathon, with critics calling the line-up one of the best in years as many films had been held back because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“It is amazing that you managed to make this happen,” said New Zealand’s Jane Campion, who won the Silver Lion prize for best director with 1920 frontier saga The Power of The Dog. “It is special for us film-makers to be here live with audiences and experience what we dream about.”

Stars from far and wide turned out in force on the Venice red carpet — a vital ingredient for the success of a festival, and even more so after last year’s subdued edition.

Ben Affleck — holding hands with Jennifer Lopez — Matt Damon, Timothee Chalamet, and Kristen Stewart were among the Hollywood A-listers who made the trip for the world’s oldest film festival.

Also creating a big buzz were two films which screened outside of the main contest, and were not eligible for awards — Denis Villeneuve’s remake of science fiction classic Dune and Ridley Scott’s medieval epic The Last Duel.

FEMINIST FESTIVAL?
Ms. Diwan’s film was a fitting winner for a festival with many strong women’s stories, in a year where the #MeToo movement has appeared to make a mark on the cinema industry.

Adapted from Annie Ernaux’s autobiographical novel, the picture’s tight framing immerses the audience in the private trauma lived by Anne, its protagonist.

“On set, I was always thinking: Let’s not look at Anne, let’s be Anne,” Ms. Diwan said.

She is the sixth female director to win the Venice showcase, here in its 78th edition. Happening is also the second French movie to triumph at a major festival since Julia Ducournau’s Titane scooped the Palme D’Or in Cannes in July.

Among other awards, the runner-up Grand Jury prize went to Italian director Paolo Sorrentino for The Hand of God, his deeply personal film about losing his parents as a teenager.

Spain’s Penelope Cruz won the best actress prize for playing a single mother in Pedro Almodovar’s Parallel Mothers. — Michelle Anne P. Soliman and Reuters

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