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Entertainment behind the scenes

Brit scoops Gucci prize in Venice

September 2, 2008

(this was posted on behalf of Silvia Aloisi, Reuters reporter in Venice) 

venice.jpgBritain does not have any movies in the main competition of the Venice film festival this year but it can console itself with the Gucci Group award going to one of its own.

Artist Steve Mcqueen won the top prize — given each year on the sidelines of the Lido showcase — for “Hunger”, a hard-hitting film about the final days of Bobby Sands, the IRA leader who died in jail after a hunger strike. “Hunger” had already scooped the “Camera d’Or” in Cannes earlier this year.

Festival director Marco Mueller, who is under scrutiny this year for a line-up that has disappointed many critics, said he had really wanted “Hunger” to premiere in Venice “but Cannes got there first”.

Mcqueen was up against another British nominee, London-based photographer Isaac Julien, who was nominated for his film “Derek”, written and narrated by Tilda Swinton. He also beat “Gunnin’ for That #1 Spot”, a Harlem-set documentary on high-school basketball prospects by Beastie Boys’ founding member Adam Yauch, and “Lou Reed’s Berlin” by last year’s winner Julian Schnabel.

French actress Isabelle Huppert and U.S. artist Jeff Koons were among the members of the jury, as was Mueller.

The winner was announced on Monday in a special ceremony at Venice’s Palazzo Grassi, the palace-turned-museum on the Grand Canal that hosts the contemporary art collection of the Gucci Group’s controlling shareholder, Francois Pinault.


Since the film is about an IRA prisoner, will Mr McQueen really be delighted at being pigeon holed as a ‘Brit’?!

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