Philippines’ John Arcilla wins best actor at Venice

Philippines Actor John Arcilla poses during the MIPCOM trade show (standing for International Market of Communications Programmes) in Cannes, southern France, on October 17, 2017. (Photo by YANN COATSALIOU / AFP)


VENICE, Italy (AFP) — Philippines actor John Arcilla was the surprise choice for the best acting award at the Venice Film Festival on Saturday.

The 55-year-old took home the prize for his starring role in “On the Job: The Missing 8”, a crime thriller that delves into corruption and fake news.

“I’m the happiest actor tonight also because I know we come from different countries and we have different languages and cultures, yet I can feel the oneness tonight… because of the art of cinema,” he said in a video message.

Though presented as a film at the festival, it is due to be cut into a six-part mini-series for HBO.

Arcilla stars as a radio host forced to re-think his support for the Philippine government after a series of assassinations.

He eventually transforms into a gun-toting revolutionary in a role described by The Hollywood Reporter “as pure fantasy”.

But it said Arcilla’s performance was “possessed of a bracingly righteous anger at a debased form of governance that transcends borders”.

The film is a sequel to the 2013 film “On the Job” by director Erik Matti, which was a huge success in the Philippines, telling the story of prisoners used by the government as hitmen.

Little known internationally, Arcilla has won multiple awards at home for his work on TV and film.

He is perhaps best known for “Heneral Luna”, a 2015 biopic about legendary 19th century military commander Antonio Luna.

© Agence France-Presse