Official Awards of the 68th Venice Film Festival
Golden Lion for Best Film
Russian director Alexsander Sokurov’s Faust scored the highest accolade at Venice, walking away with none other than the Golden Lion Award for best film. Described as “a high-art dark comedy”, it explores, in typical Sokurov-esque fashion, the corrupting effects of power. Obviously a loose interpretation of the original Jacobean play of the same title, the play has been praised for the striking visuals, clearly influenced by Flemish and Dutch witchcraft paintings.
Silver Lion for Best Director
Ren Shan Ren Hai (China – Hong Kong)
Ren Shan Ren Hair, or People Mountain People Sea, has been dubbed a matter-of-fact horror with the bleakest conclusion. Directed by Shangjun CAI, it offers up beautiful cinematography of South-West China, as well as a dark and unsettling story of murder and vengeance. The vague narrative, inexplicable character motives, constantly surprising twists and overwhelming sense of bitterness make this a must-see.
Special Jury Prize
Directed by Emanuele Crialese, this startling film walked away with the equivalent of third place and it’s definitely not hard to see why. The lensing is superb, adding a superficial beauty to everything it touches, whilst the no-nonsense storyline lays out all the facts for people to digest and make their minds up on. The topic of over-filled boats making a dangerous voyage between North Africa and these tiny Italian islands is a hot one in Italy at the moment, so this film is sure to have made a splash with the locals.
Coppa Volpi for Best Actor
Michael Fassbender (United Kingdom)
Explicit sex scenes? Check. Uncensored frontal nudity? Check. Badass director Steve McQueen? Check and check; it’s no wonder Michael Fassbender walked away with the Best Actor award for his role in gritty Brit flick, Shame. Performing alongside Carey Mulligan in an exploration of sexual addiction, Fassbender lends a great deal of credibility to this unpleasantly uncomfortable yet thought-provoking flick.
Coppa Volpi for Best Actress
Deanie Ip (China – Hong Kong)
Deanie Ip took away the Best Actress gong for her portrayal of Sister Peach in the film Tao jie (A Simple Life). The story is a true one, based upon the life of a servant who worked for a Hong Kong producer for 62 years. It’s the closely analysed relationships between master and servant, as well as the young and the old, which makes this Hong Kong drama about family and communication such a compelling watch.
Marcello Mastroianni Award for Best New Young Actor or Actress
Shôta Sometani and Fumi Nikaidô (Japan)
Genuine frustration, misery and teenage rage, all against a beautiful backdrop of the Japanese wasteland caused by the quake and tsunami, makes for an emotionally charged film. It’s no wonder that the two young leads of Himizu, directed by Sion Sono, were praised and awarded for their efforts at this year’s Venice Film Festival.
Osella for the Best Cinematography
Robbie Ryan (United Kingdom)
The Best Cinematography award went to the newest adaptation of Wuthering Heights, directed by Andrea Arnold. Intense sexual situations, working-class lifestyles and primal imagery makes this a surefire arthouse hit, completely transforming the story as we already know it.
Osella for Best Screenplay
Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthimis Filippou (Grecia)
Fancy a weird, out-there concept film? Try Alpis (Alps) by Yorgos Lanthimos. The story focuses on a strange bereavement quartet, who offer families of the deceased the option to hire one of them to replace their lost loved one for a couple of hours a week, supposedly to ease them into the idea of letting go. It’s weird, huh? However, it scored Best Screenplay, so we’re guaranteed a good watch.
Lion of the Future – “Luigi De Laurentiis”Venice Award for a Debut Film
Sincere and honest throughout, this film explores the topic of African immigrants in Italy from the perspective of the African people themselves. The stark community and hostile reaction they receive encourages drug-dealing, gambling, drinking, prostitution and, inevitably, violence. The film was deservingly awarded a prize of 100,000 USD, donated by Filmauro di Aurelio e Luigi De Laurentiis.
Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement
Marco Bellocchio, one of the greatest and most influential Italian filmmakers of recent decades, is well-deserving of his Lifetime Achievement award. His very first film, I pugni in tasca (1965) established him as an unexpected success. Since then, he has made countless films, delving into narrative classicism and poetic cinema. However, the choice to award him comes not only from his own self-making, but his tireless efforts to create training and filmmaking opportunities for young students, notably at the “Fare Cinema” workshop he organizes every year in Bobbio. What a legend.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Glory to the Filmmaker Award 2011
The star of the Godfather trilogy has been recognised for firmly leaving his mark on contemporary cinema, thanks to his originality and talent. “It’s not personal, Sonny. It’s strictly business.” Although we personally think you’re an asset to the business of film! Big congrats to Scarface from the BFF Team.
L’Oréal Paris Award for Cinema
The L’Oréal Paris Award for Cinema is often distributed to a young actress whom not only possesses an attractive face but also has true, internationally acclaimed talent and is a symbol of commitment and creativity; they have picked a just and worthy winner with Nicole Grimaudo. A familiar and yet still fresh face of Italian cinema, this is definitely one to watch…
For a full list of the awards distributed at the 68th Venice Film Festival, please visit Labiennale.org