Lav Diaz wins top prize in Venice Film Festival

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 11 2016 02:25 AM | Updated as of Sep 11 2016 02:44 AM

Director Lav Diaz holds the Golden Lion award for Best Film for the movie "The Woman Who Left" during the awards ceremony of the 73rd Venice Film Festival. Tiziana Fabi, Agence France-Presse

MANILA (UPDATE) - "Ang Babaeng Humayo," Lav Diaz's newest opus about revenge and forgiveness, won on Saturday the Golden Lion, the top prize in the 73rd Venice Film Festival in Italy. 

The prize is awarded by an eight-member jury of filmmakers and actors, headed this year by British film and stage director Sam Mendes.

"My head is spinning right now its unbelievable," said Diaz in his acceptance speech. "This is for my country, for the Filipino, for the struggle of humanity. Thank you." 

Lauded by critics, "Ang Babaeng Humayo" is a 228-minute long drama that tells the story of Horacia, a school teacher who spent 30 years in a correctional facility for a crime she did not commit.

Horacia is played by ABS-CBN Chief Content Officer Charo Santos in her first film foray in nearly two decades.

Released after someone else confesses to the crime, Horacia soon finds out that her husband had long passed away, her daughter had moved out, her son had gone missing, presumed dead, and that a former lover had set her up to be jailed. 

The film was also named Best Foreign Language Film at the Sorriso Diverso Venezia 2016 Awards, one of the collateral awards handed out before the festival's major honors.

Produced by Cinema One Originals and Sine Olivia Pilipinas, "Ang Babaeng Humayo," which also features performances from John Lloyd Cruz, received a rousing reception when it premiered in the international film festival on Friday. --with a report from Reuters and ABS-CBN News' Danny Buenafe