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Korean movie Pieta wins Venice Film Festival

South Korean Kim Ki-duk’s drama Pieta beat the big players from Hollywood and won the Golden Lion award at the 69th Venice Film Festival on Saturday. The film tells the story of a brutal debt collector who cripples those who can’t pay, until he meets a woman who claims to be his mother.
Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master, the most talked about film of the festival, had to be content with the Silver Lion for best director. The movie’s stars, Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman, shared the best actor award.

Purportedly based on the  Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, The Master centers on a an unsettled WII veteran (Joaquin Phoenix) who is manipulated by a cult leader (Philip Seymour Hoffman).

Another film dealing with a religious theme, Paradise: Faith, from Austrian director Ulrich Seidl’s, won the special jury prize. The film, a dark comedy about a self-flagellating Roman Catholic woman married to a paraplegic Muslim,  made headlines in Italy when a Catholic organization accused the filmmakers of blasphemy for showing a woman masturbating with a crucifix.

The best actress award went to Hadas Yaron, who  plays a Hasidic teenager struggling with a difficult decision in the in yet another religion-theme drama from Israel, Fill the Void.

This year’s Venice Film Festival jury was headed by filmmaker Michael Mann, and included actress Samantha Morton, filmmakers Matteo Garrone and Pablo Trapero and the artist Marina Abramovic.

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