Saturday, September 11, 2004

Inconvenient Life

Again Europe Rewards politics over beauty. The theme is that people whose life is a burden to others should be, ummm, destroyed. That seems so, well, ugly and selfish, that they give an award to someone who makes it seem downright noble.

News: "U.K. abortion drama wins top prize at Venice

VENICE (Reuters) - 'Vera Drake,' Mike Leigh's tough tale of a working-class mother who is caught performing illegal abortions in 1950s England scooped up prizes at the 61st Venice Film Festival Saturday, including the coveted Golden Lion.

Acclaimed British stage and film actress Imelda Staunton won the best actress award for her portrayal of a back-street abortionist who acts not for financial gain but out of concern for girls and women in trouble.

'Vera Drake' was competing against 21 other feature films for the top prize at the world's oldest cinema competition.

Award-winning British director Leigh raises troubling questions about abortion in a world where the wealthy have access to discreet and legal abortions and the poor throw themselves on the mercy of practitioners like Drake.

'The audience must walk away with a debate and struggle with it. These things are not black and white,' Leigh told Reuters in an interview on the Lido.

Staunton anchors the movie as a working mother who risks her close-knit family's love after a girl on whom she performs an abortion falls seriously ill and her secret activities are discovered.

Alejandro Amenabar's 'Mar Adentro' ('Out to Sea'), the true story of a Spanish sailor who fought for the right to die after a diving accident left him paralyzed, also took home its fair share of prizes Saturday.

The latest film by the director of 'The Others' won the Jury Grand Prix, while the best actor prize went to Spain's Javier Bardem for his portrayal of Ramon Sampedro, the quadriplegic and euthanasia campaigner whose wry humor seduced Spanish audiences.

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