George Clooney’s The Ides of March, David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method, and Roman Polanski’s Carnage all missed out on the top Golden Lion Award at the 68th Venice Film Festival.
Russian director Aleksandra Sokurov (Russian Ark) was the surprise winner of the Golden Lion Award, announced on Saturday, for his film Faust. A fantasy version of the legend of Faust, it is loosely based on the literary interpretations of Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe and Thomas Mann. It’s the fourth film in Sokurov’s “Men in Power” series, which has focused on historical figures Hitler (Moloch), Lenin (Taurus) and Emperor Hirohito (The Sun). No doubt this award will add “buzz” to its screenings this week at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Other award winners announced by the jury headed by Black Swan’s Darren Aronoskfy are:
- Best Director (Silver Lion) - China’s Cai Shangjun for Ren Shan Ren Hai (People Mountain People Sea). A surprise last minute entry into the competition, this is a story about a man who returns to his mountain village to avenge his brother’s killing.
- Best Actress: Deanie Ip for Tao Jie (A Simple Life). Directed by Ann Hui, Tao Jie tells the story of a housekeeper adjusting to life as a retiree after decades serving one family.
- Best Actor: Michael Fassbender for Shame. This award is no surprise; Fassbender has been the talk of Venice after flashing his private parts about in Shame (directed by Brit Steve McQueen), an explicit film about a solitary sex addict on a rampage in New York. Fassbender also stared in David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method.
- Marcello Mastroianni Award for best new young actor or actress: Shota Sometani and Fumi Nikaido for Himizu by Japan's Sion Sono.
- Best Cinematography: Robbie Ryan for the film Wuthering Heights by Andrea Arnold.
- Best Screenplay: Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthimis Filippou for the film Alpis (Alps).
It’s worth mentioning too, that the New Zealand/Samoa film The Orator directed by Tusi Tamasese received a Special Mention in the Orizzonti Awards section of the Film Festival.
By the time these awards were announced many of the celebrities and their entourages had moved onto the 36th Toronto International Film Festival which began on Thursday last week. Showcasing 336 films, including 268 feature films, the TIFF is where the action really kicks in, and the Oscar campaigns begin. Steve McQueen’s Shame is the first domestic acquisition to be announced, picked up by Fox Searchlight who will release the film throughout America, and no doubt pick up a few more awards along the way.