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Ava DuVernay Makes History at Venice Film Festival with 'Origin

 Ava DuVernay Makes History at Venice Film Festival with 'Origin

Ava DuVernay Makes History at Venice Film Festival with 'Origin
Ava DuVernay Makes History at Venice Film Festival with 'Origin(Image-Getty)

Ava DuVernay, a renowned director, made history at the Venice Film Festival by becoming the first African American woman to present a movie in competition. Despite facing skepticism and discouragement, she persevered to showcase her thought-provoking film, "Origin."

In her pre-screening remarks, DuVernay emphasized the misconception that international audiences do not care about stories from Black filmmakers. She recounted the numerous times she had been advised not to apply for Venice, but this year, she defied the odds, marking a historic moment as an African American woman in competition.

"Origin" explores the journey of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Isabel Wilkerson as she authored her bestselling book, "Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents" in 2020. The film interweaves personal tragedies from Wilkerson's life with reenactments of historical events, including Nazi Germany, Jim Crow segregation in the United States, and the plight of the Dalit "untouchable" caste in India. It sheds light on the dehumanization and systemic discrimination faced by lower-caste individuals throughout history.

The film features Suraj Yengde, an Indian scholar who plays himself, and underscores the importance of Wilkerson's work in exposing issues that demand attention.

DuVernay, known for her 2014 film "Selma," initially developed "Origin" within a studio structure but later turned it into an independent project to gain greater artistic freedom, especially in casting decisions. Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor takes on the main role, with Jon Bernthal portraying her husband, and real individuals playing themselves in key roles. DuVernay explained that assembling such a cast would have been challenging within the confines of a studio system.

"Origin" is among the 23 films competing for the prestigious Golden Lion award at the Venice Film Festival, which concludes on September 9th. This groundbreaking work not only marks a significant achievement for DuVernay but also sheds light on important themes of race and discrimination in our world's history.

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