Hamaguchi's 'Evil Does Not Exist' premieres at Venice Film Festival

Moviegoers at the Venice International Film Festival have responded enthusiastically to the latest from Japanese director Hamaguchi Ryusuke. "Evil Does Not Exist" received an ovation that lasted over seven minutes at its premiere on Monday.

The follow-up to Hamaguchi's internationally successful "Drive My Car" is up for a Golden Lion. That's the top prize at the 80th Venice festival, which opened last Wednesday and runs through Saturday.

Hamaguchi posed for photos on the red carpet before the film's premiere. He was joined by Omika Hitoshi, who stars in the film, and its co-planner and music composer, Ishibashi Eiko.

The film's protagonist lives in a village surrounded by nature. When a plan to build a nearby campsite is discovered, the villagers begin to realize it will have a negative impact on their water supplies and local ecosystem.

One Italian journalist heaped praise on Hamaguchi. He said he deserves an award for his ability to tell a story through images, for the story's intensity, and for the emotion it arouses.