Russian film "Faust" takes top prize in Venice

Sat Sep 10, 2011 9:36pm EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Mike Collett-White and Silvia Aloisi

VENICE, Italy (Reuters) - - Russian film "Faust," loosely based on Goethe's classic German text, won the Golden Lion for best picture at the Venice film festival on Saturday.

The movie, directed by the revered Alexander Sokurov, divided critics at the annual cinema showcase, but had been among the favourites to scoop the coveted top prize.

"The emotion is huge," 60-year-old Sokurov told the prize ceremony on the Lido waterfront, where stars have walked the red carpet, promoted their movies and partied into the early hours for the last 11 days.

Jury head and U.S. director Darren Aronofsky, who won the Golden Lion in 2008 with "The Wrestler," said:

"There are some films that make you dream, there are some films that make you cry, there are some films that make you laugh, there are some films that change you forever after you see them one time, and this is one of those films."

Faust, the fourth and final instalment in Sokurov's series about corrupting power, won praise for conjuring a 19th century world of squalour, stench and chaos in which Faust and a mad-cap Mephistopheles play out their destinies.

But some viewers found the dialogue-heavy, German language picture that lasts well over two hours tough going.

"Taking highbrow to the edge of slapstick, Sokurov's idiosyncratic adaptation of ... Faust will intrigue some and turn off others," said Hollywood Reporter critic Deborah Young.   Continued...

<p>Alexander Sokurov, director of "Faust", bows after receiving the Golden Lion award during the closing ceremony of the 68th Venice Film Festival September 10, 2011. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard</p>