French director Laurent Cantet has taken the Venice Days Award, an independent sidebar of the Venice Film Festival, with his vision of contemporary Cuba in “Return to Ithaca,” Hispanically Speaking News reports.
The official Venice Days jury, headed by Argentine director Diego Lerman, announced its decision Friday afternoon upon concluding its deliberations.
“In very limited conditions of time and space, the filmmaker was able to deliver a complex, emotional work about secrets of the past,” the jury said.
The award consists of a trophy and 20,000 euros ($25,000) to be shared between the director and the international distributor, the latter having to use part of its cash prize to promote the film.
Winner of the 2008 Palme d’Or at Cannes for “The Class,” Cantet in the movie goes deeply into the disillusionment of an entire generation of Cubans educated under the Revolution.
With a screenplay based on “La Novela de mi Vida” by Leonardo Padura and written by Cantet and the Cuban author, “Return to Ithaca” tells the story of five friends getting together to celebrate the arrival in Havana of the leading character, Amadeo, after 16 years in exile.
“Return to Ithaca” will also be screened at Spain’s San Sebastian Film Festival, which begins Sept. 19.