Sept. 9 - A violent Korean film telling the story of a pitiless loan shark and inspired by Michelangelo scoops the Golden Lion at this year's Venice Film Festival. Joel Flynn reports.
SOUNDBITE: Director and Venice Film Festival Jury President, Michael Mann, saying (English): "It's my great pleasure to give the Golden Lion award to Kim Ki-Duk for his picture 'Pieta'." (APPLAUSE) It's allegedly taken inspiration from Michelangelo, and tells the story of a pitiless loan shark. It's also uncomfortably violent to watch. But after winning this year's Golden Lion award at the Venice International Film Festival, Pieta looks like it could get much more Western exposure than its director Kim Ki-Duk could have hoped for. The Pieta is a subject in Christian art depicting the Virgin Mary cradling the dead body of Jesus. The film's violence underpins an absorbing thriller and a moving love story. But Kim says it's another element that should take centre stage. SOUNDBITE: Pieta Director, Kim Ki-Duk, saying (Korean): "I believe in the modern society a lot of the issues and incidents arise from money, they happen because of money and money creates the necessity, the selfishness and the greed that people have. I think money is the cause of so many of the incidents we see so commonly around us. I think money itself is another character in this movie." The other big winner on the night was Paul Thomas Anderson's "The Master" The film is loosely based on the early days of Scientology, which earned him a Silver Lion for best director It also saw Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix jointly scoop the best actor award - Hoffman rushing to Italy at the last minute to accept for both of them. Meanwhile Hadas Yaron was named best actress for her performance in "Fill the Void" It tells the story of a young bride torn between love and her obligations to her ultra-Orthodox Jewish family. With the Venice Film Festival having wrapped, all attention is now focussed on Toronto, which continues through to September 16.