Europe's migrant tide ripples through Venice film fest

Sun Sep 6, 2015 12:05pm EDT
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By Michael Roddy

VENICE (Reuters) - Few people have been left untouched by the plight of desperate refugees trying to make it to Europe, and at the Venice Film Festival, actors and directors alike shared their distress over the crisis, pleading for tolerance and compassion.

Mexican director Alfonso Cuaron, whose "Birdman" won the festival's top Lion d'Or prize last year and best film at the 2015 Oscars, set the stage on the festival's first day when he urged Europe to welcome the people flocking to its shores.

"I'm a Mexican living in Europe and I've always felt welcome," Cuaron, head of the competition jury, said at the opening ceremony on Wednesday.

"I would like that today and in the future that the same welcome would be extended to all migrants."

British actress Tilda Swinton was also there, for the screening of "A Bigger Splash", which has a subplot involving people coming ashore on the Mediterranean island of Pantelleria.

"May I just suggest by the way that we all get out of the habit of calling anybody migrants in this situation?," she said.

"We're dealing with refugees, war refugees."

British director Tom Hooper, whose "The Danish Girl" stars Eddie Redmayne, winner of an Oscar for best actor, as the pioneering transgender woman Lili Elbe, said migrants and refugees, like transgender people, were victims of prejudice.   Continued...

Director Luca Guadagnino (L), actress Tilda Swinton and actor Ralph Fiennes (R) attend the photocall for the movie "A Bigger Splash" at the 72nd Venice Film Festival, northern Italy September 6, 2015. REUTERS/Manuel Silvestri