Mexican director Guillermo del Toro’s fantasy wins Venice Film Festival

VENICE, ITALY (SEPTEMBER 9, 2017) (REUTERS) – Taking home the top prize at the Venice Film Festival felt like winning a marathon, director Guillermo del Toro on Saturday (September 9).

Golden Lion winner del Toro said his fantasy horror ”The Shape of Water” took six years to make. The Mexican director said the film proves that fantasy as a genre, if used in an intelligent and artistic way, is as ”good a vernacular as any other”.

Israeli director Samuel Maoz was delighted to win the Grand Jury Prize saying the accolade meant he ”probably did the right thing”.

His stylish drama ”Foxtrot” has caused some controversy back in his home country but Maoz said that if he criticised his place of origin it was only out of love.

Charlotte Rampling received the best actress award for her performance in Italian film “Hannah”, while Palestinian Kamel El Basha took the best actor prize for his role in “The Insult”.

El Basha and Maoz both said their film work was not about politics, with Maoz adding he hoped to create dialogue.

Meanwhile, Australian film director Warwick Thornton won the Special Jury Prize for his period piece ”Sweet Country”.

Set in the 1920s in Alice Springs, Australia, it tells the story of a boy who sees an Aboriginal man kill a white man in self defence.

After picking up his prize Warwick spoke passionately about his country and the current situation the indigenous population faces.

French director Xavier Legrand was full of emotion as he collected his best director award for family drama ”Custody”.

Director and screenwriter Martin McDonagh won best screenplay for “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” which stars Frances McDormand.

The film, a portrayal of vengeance in small-town America was said by critics to be a prime Oscar contender.

Now in it’s 74th year The Venice Film Festival, the world’s oldest, is seen as a launching pad for the industry’s award season.