The Woman Who Left is a nearly four-hour long movie about a woman's thirst for revenge and her feelings of forgiveness after 30 years in jail for a crime she did not commit.
A nearly four-hour long movie about a woman's thirst for revenge and her feelings of forgiveness after 30 years in jail for a crime she did not commit won the Venice Film Festival's top prize on Saturday.
Director Lav Diaz has described "Ang Babaeng Humayo" ("The Woman Who Left") as a testimony to the struggles of the Philippines after centuries of colonial rule.
"This is for my country, for the Filipino people, for our struggle, for the struggle of humanity," the 57-year-old said as he accepted the Golden Lion award for his black-and-white movie.
Diaz, who at the Berlin Film Festival in February had premiered a film that ran over eight hours, said he hoped the latest recognition would create more appreciation for longer movies.
"Cinema is still very young, you can still push it," he said.
The revenge drama is Philippines first film to win the top award at the world's oldest film festival.
However it is not the first of director Diaz's successes at Venice.
His movie "Kagadanan sa banwaan ning mga engkanto" (Death in the Land of Encantos) won special mention in the Orizzonti (Horizons) section of the festival in 2007.
Just a year later he earned the Orizzonti Award itself with his film "Melancholia."
According to the Hollywood Reporter the movie The Woman Who Left was inspired by Leo Tolstoy's short story "God Sees the Truth but Waits."
Twenty US and international movies competed at the festival.
The runner-up Grand Jury prize went to Tom Ford's thriller "Nocturnal Animals", the second feature film by the celebrated fashion designer.
The Best Director award was shared by Russia's Andrei Konchalovsky for the Holocaust drama "Rai" ("Paradise") and Mexico's Amat Escalante for "La Region Salvaje" ("The Untamed").
The Best Actress prize went to Emma Stone for her role in the musical "La La Land" and Argentine actor Oscar Martinez was named Best Actor for his performance in the comedy-drama "El Ciudadano Ilustre" ("The Distinguished Citizen").
Noah Oppenheim obtained best screenplay award for his work on Pablo Larrain's "Jackie" and Ana Lily Amirpour's cannibal-survivor fairytale "The Bad Batch" received the Special Jury Prize.