VENICE, September 6, 2014 (AFP) – Swedish director Roy Andersson‘s film “A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence”, a series of comedic sketches exploring the human condition, won the Golden Lion for best movie at the Venice film festival Saturday.
The eccentric film, which features salesmen flogging novelty items, singing bar women and a sex-mad flamenco dancer, was hailed by critics in Venice for its distinctive look and moving exploration of what it means to be human.
Collecting the prize, Andersson told the audience in English that he had been inspired by Vittorio De Sica’s 1948 “Bicycle Thieves” — an emblem of Neorealism filmmaking — particularly the scene in the pawnshop, because the character “discovers Rome’s poor”.
“It’s a humanistic scene, it’s true empathy. That’s what a movie should be,” he said.
US actor Adam Driver, from the HBO series “Girls”, won best actor for his portrayal of a desperate father trying to save his baby son’s life in Italian Saverio Costanzo’s New-York based tale “Hungry Hearts”.
“Adi made this film because he wanted to meet the perpetrators and have them accept what they’d done so he could pardon them,” Oppenheimer said by video link about the protagonist of his work.
The only person in the documentary who accepts responsibility, however, is the daughter of an ageing murderer.
“We in the West should follow this daughter’s example of dignity, acknowledge our own role in the genocide and our collective responsibility for these crimes,” Oppenheimer said.
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Swedish film wins Venice Film Festival’s Golden Lion.