Director Brillante Mendoza won an award for his work in “Sinapupunan” (“Thy Womb”) from an Italian film journal early on Saturday, hours before the award ceremonies at the 69th Venice International Festival.
Mendoza received the La Navicella Award from the Fondazione Ente dello Spettacolo e della Rivista del Cinematografo, a foundation run by an Italian magazine for film and the performing arts. La Navicella is Italian for spacecraft or spaceship.
The citation for the award reads, courtesy of a Google translation: “For giving voice, with respect and compassion, the Bajau community, a people of fishermen and pearl seekers living in harmony with nature. ethnographic [sic] While adopting a register, the film transcends the sphere of naturalism and it poetry, staging an act of total love that easy against provocations, must today as a true scandal.”
Past recipients of the award include acclaimed filmmakers like Louis Malle, Zhang Yimou, Stephen Frears, Abel Ferrara, and Kathryn Bigelow.
Critics have identified “Thy Womb” as a dark horse for the Golden Lion best picture prize at the festival, while lead star Nora Aunor is believed to be the frontrunner for best actress after she won the Bisato D’Oro award from an independent body of Italian film critics on Friday.
Bisato D’Oro is Venetian for golden eel.