• Kyodo

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Director Shinya Tsukamoto’s “Rokugatsu no Hebi” (“A Snake of June”) has won the Jury’s Special Award at the 59th Venice International Film Festival.

The 42-year-old director’s film won the award Sunday in the Controcorrente (upstream) category, in which 18 avant-garde films competed.

Tsukamoto’s film probes the erotic drive of a stalker in a big city.

“I wanted to depict the solitude and lonely outcries of people living in Tokyo,” Tsukamoto said. Public screening of the film is scheduled for spring.

The Golden Lion award for the best film, the festival’s top prize, went to Scottish actor and director Peter Mullan for “The Magdalene Sisters.”

Based on a true story, Mullan’s film, set in Ireland in the 1960s, tells the story of four young women who rebel against the regime in the Magdalene Asylums, where girls, usually from poor families, were confined for such reasons as giving birth outside marriage. They were forced to work as virtual slaves in convent laundries run by the Sisters of Mercy.

The Vatican has denounced the film, calling it biased.

Besides Tsukamoto, other Asian directors also won awards at this year’s festival.

South Korean director Lee Chang Dong, maker of the hit “Peppermint Candy,” won the Special Director’s Award for his film “Oasis.”

“Xiao Cheng Zhi Chun” (“Springtime in a Small Town”) directed by China’s Tian Zhuangzhuang won the San Marco Award, the highest prize in the Controcorrente category.

“Dolls,” directed by Takeshi Kitano, was also nominated in the category for nonmainstream films but failed to win a prize. Kitano won the Golden Lion award for “Hana-bi” in 1997.

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