The 73rd Venice Film Festival celebrated variety with its awards ceremony. The Golden Lion went to a challenging work from the Philippines, “The Woman Who Left,” while other prizes went to quirky and provocative movies.
The 10-day festival, held on the glamorous Lido di Venezia, announced the winners of its official competition on Saturday. Twenty films were vying for the Golden Lion.
Instead of selecting one of the many Hollywood titles in the lineup, the jury headed by British filmmaker Sam Mendes (“American Beauty”) gave the Golden Lion to “Ang Babaeng Humayo” (“The Woman Who Left”) by Lav Diaz from the Philippines. The nearly four-hour long black-and-white film tells the story of the revenge wrought by a wrongly convicted schoolteacher.
US fashion designer Tom Ford was the runner-up, winning the Silver Lion – Grand Jury Prize as the director of “Nocturnal Animals,” another tale of bitter revenge, starring Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal.
The Silver Lion for best director was awarded to two contrasting filmmakers: Russia’s Andrei Konchalovsky was in the competition with “Rai” (“Paradise”), a Holocaust drama, whereas Mexico’s Amat Escalante was honored for a provocative movie called “La Region Salvaje” (“The Untamed”), a tale involving sex with an extraterrestrial, tentacled creature hidden in a cabin.
Another shocking film obtained the special jury prize: the US horror movie “The Bad Batch,” by Ana Lily Amirpour. Her shocking cannibal love story stars Jim Carrey and Keanu Reeves.
Best actors: Oscar Martinez and Emma Stone
The prize for best actor went to the Argentinian Oscar Martinez for his role in the comedy “El Ciudadano Ilustre” (“The Distinguished Citizen”), where he depicts a cynical Nobel-prize winning author who returns to his hometown for the first time after 40 years.
Emma Stone won the prize for best actress for her performance in the musical “La La Land,” a colorful tribute to the golden age of US musicals set in present-day Los Angeles.
Germany’s Paula Beer won the Marcello Mastroianni Award as the best emerging actress for her role in the World War I drama “Frantz,” by French filmmaker Francois Ozon.
The Golden Lion for lifetime achievement was given to French cinema legend Jean-Paul Belmondo, during a ceremony held on Thursday.
In recent years, the world’s oldest film festival has strengthened its reputation as a launch pad for Hollywood’s awards season. The last two films to win the Academy Award for best picture, “Spotlight” (2015) and “Birdman” (2014), both premiered in Venice.