Closing night of Sydney Film Festival 2017 at the State Theatre brought with it the announcement of the winner of the 10th Sydney Film Prize from among the 12 films in the official competition.
The $60,000 cash prize for "audacious, cutting-edge and courageous" film went to a popular choice, the Hungarian film On Body and Soul by director Ildiko Enyedi, who was on hand to accept the award.
"It’s a film that shows us that even in this divided world we are capable of sharing the same dreams, that amongst the ugliness of a slaughterhouse, kindness, gentleness can be found," said festival jury president Margaret Pomeranz on announcing the award.
Time Out (along with many pundits and festival-goers) predicted this one and agrees with the consensus that this year was been the strongest SFF in some years.
The ceremony preceded the closing night screening of Okja. Okja was among the 11 competition films bested by On Body and Soul, but despite the controversy at Cannes (the film is a Netflix release) this comedic sci-fi indictment of factory farming and capitalism got a warm reception.
The title character is a genetically modified super pig who is the best friend of an orphan girl, Mija (An Seo Hyun). When Okja is taken away to New York by its corporate creator (personified by Tilda Swinton, playing evil twins) she determines to rescue her beloved pet.
“This movie is not just about a pig, the humans did OK too,” said director Joon-Ho Bong through a translator, about a film that threatened to convert fans of Barbecue back to vegetarianism. Yep, that was some pig.
On Body and Soul, Barbecue and My Happy Family reviewed