Encantos’ wins in Venice Film FestivalPosted on September 17th, 2007 under Entertainment Success
Long Live Philippine Cinema!” These were the words that Filipino director Director Lav Diaz proclaimed in his acceptance speech after winning the Special Mention prize in the Horizons (Orizzonti) documentary section of the Venice Film Festival for his film Kagadanan sa Banwaan ning mga Engkanto (Death in the Land of Encantos).
The top prize went to “Wuyong (Useless)” by China’s Jia Zhangke.
The Filipino filmmaker’s nine-hour film had the closing night honors in the sidebar section of the prestigious and oldest film festival in the world.
The new work of this trailblazing Mindanao-born Diaz, described in the festival’s website as “one of the astonishing new South East Asian auteurs,” bested entries by filmmakers from around the world, including name American filmmakers.
A mixture of documentary and fiction, “Encantos” tells the story of a fictional Filipino poet, Benjamin Agusan, who returns to his hometown in Padang, Bicol in the aftermath of the destruction and tragedy wrought by super typhoon, “Reming.” Agusan spent several years in Russia on a scholarship grant.
The jury of the Horizons (Orizzonti) Documentary section watched “Encantos” in two instalments, on a Thursday evening and Friday morning.
Diaz worked frantically to finish the film in time for the festival’s jury and public screenings.
Sharing the film’s triumph in Venice with Lav, who was also the film’s cinematographer and editor, were production supervisor Laurel Penaranda; production designer and actor Dante Perez; actors Roeder Camanag (who plays fictional poet, Benjamin Agusan), Perry Dizon (Teodoro) and Amalia Virtucio (“albularya”).
Diaz won against such name directors as Jonathan Demme and Julian Schnabel. Last year, renowned director Spike Lee won the award in this category for “When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts.”