“All This Victory,” a tense war drama directed by Lebanon’s Ahmad Ghossein and set in 2006 in his country during the conflict between Hezbollah and Israel, is the big winner at the Venice Critics’ Week section dedicated to first works.
The film is about a young man named Marwan who during a ceasefire goes in search of his father who refused to leave his Southern village, while his wife Rana is preparing papers for their immigration to Canada. Marwan however finds no traces of his father, the ceasefire is quickly broken and the situation spiral out of control after he is forced to shelter in the home of Najib, his father’s friend, and some of Najib’s friends. As bombs hail down, tensions within the house rise; and then a group of Israeli soldiers enter the building.
“Victory,” which is produced by Georges Schoucair and Myriam Sassine of Beirut-based Abbout Productions – and is a coproduction between Lebanon, France and Germany – won two awards: one decided by a jury; the other by the public. The film also won a third prize for its technical aspect.
The independently run Venice section dedicated to first works also gave out a prize known as the Verona Film Club Award to Saudi Arabian auteur Shahad Ameen’s “Scales,” a feminist fable that draws on Arabic folklore about a young woman named Hayat who rebels against the tradition in her fishing village of sacrificing female children to monstrous mermaids lurking in the sea.
The Verona prize goes to the film deemed the most innovative in the section by a jury of young film buffs who belong to one of Italy’s oldest arthouse cinema organizations.
All Venice Critics’ Week entries will compete for the fest’s Lion of the Future prize alongside titles in the official selection.
The Venice Film Festival’s official selection prizes will be announced Saturday.