Latin America & Caribbean

Venezuelan film Desde Alla wins top Venice festival award

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Media captionDesde Alla is the first Venezuelan film to be ever entered into the Venice film festival, as Tim Allman reports

A Venezuelan film set among the chaos and violence of Caracas - Desde Alla, or From Afar - has won the top Golden Lion prize at the Venice film festival.

In his debut feature film, director Lorenzo Vigas tells the story of a rich man who gets sexually involved with a young man from one of the city's gangs.

"I want to dedicate this prize to my amazing country, Venezuela.

"I know we have a few problems, but if we talk about them we will overcome them," Mr Vigas said.

Venezuela is going through a serious economic crisis, which led to months of street protests last year over the shortage of many goods.

On Thursday, prominent Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez was sentenced to 13 years and nine months in prison for inciting violence during the protests.

Films should help Latin American countries "learn from the mistakes of the past," Mr Vigas added.

Image copyright Desde Alla
Image caption Desde Alla is set in Caracas, the capital of Venezuela

Meanwhile, Pablo Trapero's Argentine crime thriller, The Clan, won the Silver Lion for best director.

The film, which was a blockbuster in Argentina, tells the true story of an ordinary Buenos Aires family that abducted wealthy people for ransom and hid them in their house before killing them.

Mexican director Alfonso Cuaron was the president of this year's Venice Film Festival jury.

He said he was pleased by the fact that a Latin American film had won the top prize, but said it was "only a coincidence" that the jury had been led by a Mexican.

The runner-up Grand Jury Prize went to the American comedy fantasy Anomalisa, directed by Duke Johnson and Charlie Kaufman.

The best actor prize went to Frances's Fabrice Luchini, who played a judge in Christian Vincent's L'Hermine, or Courted.