Actor Victor Banerjee wins award at Ontario film festival

NEW DELHI: Victor Banerjee has won the “best actor in a secondary role” for his performance of an aging Christian priest in Josef: Born in Grace at the Ontario International Film Festival.

“I modeled my part on the Irish Christian brothers who taught me at school in Shillong,” said the 74-year-old actor on phone. The film, set between 1960 and 1980 in the foothills of the Himalayas, narrates the humanist tale of a priest (Father O’Hara) who looks after an alcoholic young man Josef.

The film, directed by Susant Misra, also claimed the award for best cinematography (Sudheer Palsane).

“The film was shot in Ranikhet and nearby areas, almost entirely in Uttarakhand,” said Banerjee, who has also acted with auteurs such as Satyajit Ray (Ghare Baire), David Lean (A Passage to India) and Roman Polanski (Bitter Moon).

Josef: Born in Grace is adapted from a short story, Joseph, written by Umakanta Mahapatra. “Through static mise-en-scenes, the narrative of the film reflects the all-encompassing nature of time, pre-empting and repeating itself in allegorical hues,” said the film’s synopsis on the Ontario film festival website.