Aquarius Wins Top Prize at the Sydney Film Festival Official Competition
Brazilian filmmaker Kleber Mendonça Filho has won the 2016 Sydney Film Prize.
Sydney Film Festival went out with a bang last night, naming Aquarius as the official winner of the 2016 Sydney Film Prize at their closing night gala. It is director Kleber Mendonça Filho's second feature film, and the second to have won him international acclaim. The filmmaker won out against eleven other knockout films to take home the SFF Official Competition trophy and a $63,000 cash prize.
Following on from his first film Neighbouring Sounds — which was a finalist in the 2012 SFF Official Competition, and has since won over 100 awards, as well as being Brazil's submission for Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars — Aquarius follows 65-year-old protagonist Clara, played by the brilliant Sonia Braga (Kiss of the Spider Woman). Clara is a fiercely independent music critic who goes head-to-head with the firm that is trying to buy her seaside apartment. This 'last woman standing' drama is well suited as a sophomore film to Neighbouring Sounds, which examined race, class and fear in the same setting of Recife, Brazil. Despite its power and a nomination for the Palme d'Or at Cannes Film Festival this year, Aquarius has not yet aired in Brazil.
Aquarius went up against some stellar films this year, including Goldstone and It's Only the End of the World, both of which were on our top ten films to see at the festival. The Festival's Official Competition was established in 2008 and looks for films that are audacious, cutting edge and courageous. Previous Sydney Film Prize winners include Arabian Nights (2015), Two Days, One Night (2014), Only God Forgives (2013) and Alps (2012).
Published on June 20, 2016 by Marissa Ciampi