Fassbender's cup of joy at winning top acting award
IRISH star Michael Fassbender last night spoke of his delight at winning the best actor prize at the Venice Film Festival for his role in the controversial movie 'Shame'.
The star, who was raised in Co Kerry, scooped the prize for his role as sex addict Brandon in the film directed by Turner Prize-winning film-maker Steve McQueen.
He received fulsome praise from the judges at the festival for his "inspiring performance" -- but the 34-year-old actor instead chose to praise McQueen.
"It's really nice when you've taken a chance on a film and you hope the subject is relevant," Fassbender said. "Steve McQueen is my hero."
Fassbender and McQueen previously collaborated on the film 'Hunger', in which Fassbender played republican prisoner Bobby Sands, who led the 1981 hunger strike at the Maze Prison in Northern Ireland.
Jury president, the US director Darren Aronofsky, paid special tribute to Fassbender and 'Shame'.
"We were blown away by 'Shame' and the cinematic power of it," he said.
'Shame' is centred on 30-something sex addict Brandon, his myriad sexual escapades, and how his life spirals out of control when his wayward younger sister, played by Carey Mulligan, moves in with him.
The provocative drama also enjoyed success at the Toronto International Film Festival at the weekend, where it became the first major film to score a distributor for North America.
While the Venice Film Festival is not a platform for blockbusters, it has proved an effective launchpad for US Oscar contenders like Ang Lee's 'Brokeback Mountain' and Aronofsky's own 'Black Swan'.
Russian director Alexander Sokurov's take on the German legend of Faust won the prestigious Golden Lion at the festival, leaving the hotly tipped 'Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy' without an award.
Aronofsky said of 'Faust', which is loosely based on the myth of a man who sells his soul to the devil: "There are some films that make you cry, there are some films that make you laugh, there are some films that change you forever, and this is one of them."
Oscar-winning British director Andrea Arnold's presentation of the Emily Bronte classic 'Wuthering Heights' was also recognised, with Robbie Ryan winning the gong for best cinematography.
Film4, which backed both 'Shame' and 'Wuthering Heights', said the films were of "outstanding quality".
The Silver Lion for best director was awarded to China's Shangjun Cai for his gritty 'People Mountain People Sea'. Best actress went to Hong Kong's Deanie Ip and the jury prize went to Italian immigration drama 'Terraferma'.
Surprisingly overlooked was Roman Polanski's 'Carnage', a comedy of manners featuring a stellar cast of Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet, Christoph Waltz and John C Reilly.