76th International Film Festival Venice

28.08.2019 to 07.09.2019
Jury INTERFILM Venice 2019

Jury INTERFILM Venice 2019, from left: Heinz-Martin Krauss, Waltraud Verlaguet (Preisdent of the Jury), Michele Lipori (© Karsten Visarius)

At the 76th Venice International Film Festival, the INTERFILM Jury choose as winner of  the INTERFILM Award for Promoting Interreligious Dialogue the Tunisian-French co-production "Bik eneich - Un fils", directed by Mehdi M. Barsaoui. The film is about a married couple whose son is seriously injured after an assault and can only be rescued by a liver transplant. When it turns out that both parents are not eligible as donors, a bitter conflict develops between the spouses, aggravating the child's threatening situation. Lead actor Sami Bouajila also won an award as Best Actor in the Orizzonti section.

The Golden Lion surprisingly went to the adaptation of a graphic novel, "Joker" by Todd Philips from the US. The jury awarded their Grand Prix to Roman Polanski's "J'accuse", a brilliant film adaptation of the Dreyfus Affair with obvious references to political issues of today. The jury of the Association of International Film Critics (Fipresci) also awarded Polanski‘s film. Roy Andersson received another Silver Lion as Best Director for his film „About Endlessness“.

Hirokazu Kore-eda's "La Verité" opened the 76th Venice International Film Festival. The Japanese director filmed for the first time outside of Japan. For their prize, the INTERFILM jury selects from the two competition sections - international competition and Orizzonti - the best film promoting interreligious dialogue.

Link: Festival website

Awards of the Ecumenical jury

A Son
Directed by:

There where many excellent films in this year’s festival. But the INTERFILM jury has specific criteria related to interreligious dialogue.

Religion is mostly present only as social context, inspiring laws which people have to struggle against in order to free themselves. And spiritual experience can not be linked to one single religion explicitly but stands up for human rights against social pressure.

A main issue in this festival was the family. Everywhere the traditional model is trembling, and the traumas injuring little children explain lots of actual problems. The society is clearly searching for new parameters. Hope is a fragile blossom.

The jury also noticed that much more movies tell their stories from a male point of view than seeing through the eyes of women.

For all these reasons the jury has chosen four films for its shortlist: A Perfect Candidate by Haifa Al Mansour; Balloon by Pema Tseden; Hava, Maryam, Ayesha by Sarah Karimi; and Bik eneich - Un fils by Mehdi M. Barsaoui.

All of them tell stories about the tension between personal freedom, social expectation and cultural-religious traditions.

The INTERFILM Jury awards its prize, the INTERFILM Award for Promoting Interreligious Dialogue in Venice 2019, to

Bik eneich - Un fils, directed by Mehdi M. Barsaoui

for its outstanding artistic and human qualities. A deadly injured child can only be saved by a transplantation. How far can parents go to get this when ethic issues are at stake. The couple will have to choose what they will have to sacrifice and this won’t be an obvious decision.