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The Latest: Director Maoz defends film from Israeli critics

Posted September 9

— The Latest on the Venice Film Festival (all times local):

10:30 p.m.

Israeli director Samuel Maoz has defended his Venice Film Festival prize-winner "Foxtrot" after criticism from some in his homeland.

Maoz's film, a compelling study of trauma and grief, won the festival's second-place Grand Jury Prize on Saturday.

Some in Israel have condemned the film because it is critical of the Israeli army, the country's most respected institution. But Maoz says no society can flourish when "critics are considered to be traitors."

He told reporters: "If I criticize the place I live, I do it because I worry. I do it because I want to protect it. I do it from love."

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10 p.m.

Director Guillermo del Toro says his Venice Film Festival victory is a vindication of monster movies, science-fiction movies and other sometimes-derided cinema genres.

Del Toro won the festival's Golden Lion top prize on Saturday for his monster movie "The Shape of Water" — a rare victory at a top cinema festival for a fantasy film. The Mexican director says it's "a beautiful encouragement, a beautiful act of love, and I think it is something very necessary."

The 52-year-old director says it has been his "life's mission" to show that genre films can be intelligent, artistic and beautiful. His previous films include "Hellboy" and "Pan's Labyrinth."

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8:45 p.m.

Venice Film Festival winner Guillermo del Toro says he hopes his victory will inspire young directors to "have faith in whatever you have faith in — in my case, it's monsters."

The Mexican director won the festival's Golden Lion for "The Shape of Water," a fantastical story about a mute young woman, played by Sally Hawkins, who falls for a mysterious sea creature being held at a high-security lab.

Many viewers in Venice fell for the movie's audacious mix of genres: It's a monster movie, a Cold War thriller and even, at times, a musical.

A grateful del Toro told an audience at the festival's closing ceremony Saturday that "I believe in life. I believe in love and I believe in cinema."

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8:40 p.m.

Guillermo del Toro's monster thriller 'The Shape of Water' has won the Venice Film Festival's top prize, the Golden Lion.

A jury led by American actress Annette Bening chose the film from among 21 competing at the 74th annual festival — an edition where the world's social divisions and the specter of climate change resonated through many of the entries.

It beat contenders including George Clooney's "Suburbicon" and Alexander Payne's "Downsizing."

The runner-up Grand Jury Prize on Saturday went to Israeli director Samuel Maoz' "Foxtrot."

Palestinian actor Kamel El Basha and British actress Charlotte Rampling took the festival's acting trophies.

The world's oldest film festival wrapped up Saturday after 11 days that brought stars including Clooney, Matt Damon and Jennifer Lawrence to the canal-crossed Italian city.

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