When the Lion roars again | From the awards to the future of the Venice International Film Festival

Laura Poitras shows the Golden Lion Award for All the Beauty and the Bloodshed

The 79th annual edition of the Venice International Film Festival has come to an end, and the Jury, chaired by American actress Julianne Moore, has presented awards to six of the twenty-three movies in the Official Competition. With Noah Baumbach‘s White Noise opening the festival and Jafar Panahi‘s No Bears closing it, the 79th festival has seen many actors and directors returning to the Lido, among them Darren Aronofsky and Brendan Fraser for The Whale. The festival committee also chose to leave out of competition the genre movies, as happened with last year’s Dune and Halloween Kills, showcased this year with the much acclaimed Pearl.

Nan Goldin in All the Beauty and the Bloodshed. Image courtesy of La Biennale di Venezia

In the end, the Jury awarded the Golden Lion to Laura PoitrasAll the Beauty and the Bloodshed, while Alice Diop‘s Saint Omer picked up the Grand Jury Prize. Luca Guadagnino‘s Bones and All won the Silver Lion for the Best Director, echoing last year’s accomplishment from Paolo Sorrentino with The Hand of God. It also won the Marcello Mastroianni Award for best young actor or actress, thanks to Taylor Russell‘s performance.

No Bears by Jarfar Panahi won the Special Jury Prize, while the Coppa Volpi for best actress and actor went to Cate Blanchett for her enchanting interpretation in Todd Field‘s TÁR and to Colin Farrell for his beautiful work in Martin McDonagh‘s The Banshees of Inisherin. The latter also won the Award for Best Screenplay, written by McDonagh himself.

Martin McDonagh collecting the Coppa Volpi for Colin Farrell in The Banshees of Inisherin. Image courtesy of La Biennale di Venezia

List of the Awards

Golden Lion for Best Film: All the Beauty and the Bloodshed, by Laura Poitras (USA)

Silver Lion – Grand Jury Prize: Saint Omer by Alice Diop (France)

Silver Lion – Award for Best Director: Luca Guadagnino for Bones and All (USA, Italy)

Coppa Volpi for Best Actress: Cate Blanchett in the film TÁR by Todd Field (USA)

Coppa Volpi for Best Actor: Colin Farrell in the film The Banshees of Inisherin by Martin McDonagh (Ireland, UK, USA)

Award for Best Screenplay: Martin McDonagh for the film The Banshees of Inisherin by Martin McDonagh (Ireland, UK, USA)

Special Jury Prize: Khers Nist (No Bears) by Jafar Panahi (Iran)

Marcello Mastroianni Award for Best Young Actor or Actress: Taylor Russell in the film Bones and All by Luca Guadagnino (USA, Italy)

Luca Guadagnino with the Silver Lion for Best Director, for Bones and All. Image courtesy of La Biennale di Venezia

Until next year in Venice

As the festival has just closed, it’s time to give an answer to some of the questions that cropped up before this year’s event. The Biennale di Venezia celebrates 90 years of its Mostra del Cinema with a festival filled with beautiful movies, famous stars and directors and a wide variety of different categories of film. It also closed with parties, and many people stayed right until the end, whereas in the last two years the pandemic situation tended to bring things to a premature stop.

Complaints and questions have come up about the online-booking system, initiated because of the pandemic, but things are now returning to normal, with fewer regulations about facemasks and hygiene measures that have now become the normality in everyday life. The organization and the public look forward to seeing how the Biennale will go next year, with fingers crossed that, in the meantime, the general situation can only improve.

There was no common theme or style as is often the case on such occasions. Last year, the Mostra showed a number of movies focused on maternity and childbirth, including the winning L’Événement. This year was somehow more focused on the directors, actors, and actresses themselves, everyone exploring their ideas and personal feelings. These included Schrader‘s particular moment in life, Aronofsky’s return with the goal of bringing back a star left behind, or McDonagh pushing to the extremes his personal, ironic, and lightheaded style.

Waiting for next year’s event and the other international festivals to come, all the movies shown in Venice will appear in cinemas during the coming year. For the public, it represents an excellent opportunity to return to theaters.

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