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SYDNEY – Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn has become a two-time winner of the Sydney Film Prize after his latest feature, Only God Forgives, won the Sydney Film Festival’s top award over the weekend.
While the Ryan Gosling and Kristin Scott Thomas starrer has divided critics and audiences since its premiere in competition at the Cannes Film Festival, the Sydney Film Festival jury ultimately awarded the $60,000 prize for “audacious, cutting-edge cinema” in a majority decision.
Jury president Hugo Weaving said of the revenge thriller, set in Bangkok: “After 10 days of captivating and diverse film viewing and passionate conversations, the jury arrived at a majority decision. In the true spirit of the competition criteria, we award a visually mesmerizing and disturbing film, which polarized our opinions.”
In a statement, Refn said, “I am very honored and extremely excited to have received this honorable award from a country that, in my opinion, has one of the great film histories of the world.”
Refn’s Bronson won the competition here in 2009.
Icon Distribution will release Only God Forgives in Australia on July 18.
The 2013 Sydney Film Prize jury included Weaving, filmmakers Anand Gandhi (India) and Pia Marais (Sweden/Germany), film critic and curator Paolo Bertolin (Italy) and Australian producer Kath Shelper.
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