Alfonso Cuaron’s jury for the 72nd Venice Film Festival spread out its prizes across several well-received titles tonight, but it also shut out some performances and critical favorites which had been among the most discussed. What’s more, it made history by giving the first Golden Lion ever to a Latin American film.
That drama, From Afar (Desde Alla), is also the first feature by helmer Lorenzo Vigas and the first ever Venice entry from Venezuela. The plot centers on a wealthy middle-aged man who falls for a street thug, changing both their lives. It’s based on a story by 21 Grams writer Guillermo Arriaga.
Coming into the fest, chief Alberto Barbera had told me that Latin America was “one of the most interesting areas from the point of view of emerging talent.” It was also well-represented in the awards with Argentina’s Pablo Trapero taking the Best Director Silver Bear for El Clan. The film, about the murderous, kidnapping Puccio family of the 1980s, has been a box office smash at home for Fox International Productions which also has U.S.
In a post-ceremony news conference tonight, Cuaron rejected a suggestion that his Mexican heritage may have been an influence on the outcome of the jury’s deliberations. “I have as much sway as the King or Queen of Sweden. My role is more representative than anything else. Even if I had wanted (to support Latin America) it would have been a bigger conspiracy and I would have had to share the money,” he joked.
Despite widespread praise throughout the fest, the folks that didn’t get Lido callbacks for tonight’s awards ceremony included The Danish Girl ‘s Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander; along with A Bigger Splash‘s Ralph Fiennes. Cuaron said of the jury’s choices in general, “This is not a testament of a universal truth. This is just this decision of this group of people. You know if you put the same films with a different group of people, you would have a different result. An award doesn’t prove much. The only thing that proves something is time and history.”
It might be worth remembering that Birdman and Michael Keaton left the Lido empty-handed last year.
Among the popular choices that did take a nod was Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson’s stop-motion brainteaser Anomalisa which scooped the Grand Jury Prize. The existential musing is one of the hot acquisition titles in Toronto and scored a huge round of applause from the press corps when its name was called here tonight.
Also getting his fair share of applause was Abraham Attah, the Beasts Of No Nation star who won the Best New Young Actor award. In the film, Netflix’s first major feature attempt at awards season glory, Attah plays the child soldier recruited by Idris Elba’s warlord. In a press conference last week he was clearly shy in communicating with reporters. Tonight on stage, he seemed far more polished, thanking the festival, the jury, the producers, his fellow actors, Elba and Netflix.
French veteran Fabrice Luchini was named Best Actor for L’Hermine, which also took Best Screenplay. Italy’s own Valeria Golino was Best Actress for Giuseppe Gaudino’s Per Amor Vostro, a drama about a Neopolitan woman struggling to overcome depression.
A standout in the Horizons section was Brady Corbet’s The Childhood Of A Leader. Corbet has been a longtime actor and this is his debut feature as helmer. The drama took the Best First Film prize as well as Best Director after falling apart several times in production and leading him to near despair, he said. He’d already been back in Upstate New York yesterday when he go the call to come back — looks like the trip was worth it.
PREVIOUS, 10:08 AM: After 10 days of splashy premieres and serious subjects, the Venice Film Festival draws to a close tonight with the awarding of the Golden Lion and other prizes which is getting underway now in the Sala Grande. Hollywood awards season hopefuls like Black Mass andSpotlight, bowed out of competition here on the Lido before traveling to Telluride and Toronto. But there was much to savor for Alfonso Cuaron and his jury in the main competition, any of which could be boosted by a win here. Among the well-received titles vying for oro tonight are Netflix’s Beasts Of No Nation, Working Title/Focus’ The Danish Girl, Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson’sAnomalisa, and Fox Searchlight’s A Bigger Splash. Notable foreign language titles inlcude charmer Marguerite,Francofonia (which has already taken a FEDEORA nod) and Argentina’s The Clan. Winners will be updated as they are announced, so keep checking back.
From Afar, Lorenzo Vigas
Silver Lion, Best Director:
Pablo Trapero, The Clan
Grand Jury Prize:
Anomalisa, dirs: Charlie Kaufman & Duke Johnson
Volpi Cup, Best Actor:
Fabrice Luchini, L’Hermine
Volpi Cup, Best Actress:
Valeria Golino, Per Amor Vostro
Marcello Mastroianni Award for for Best New Young Actor or Actress:
Abraham Attah, Beasts Of No Nation
Christian Vincent, L’Hermine
Special Jury Prize:
Frenzy, dir: Emin Alper
Free In Deed, dir: Jake Mahaffy
Brady Corbet, The Childhood Of A Leader
Special Jury Prize:
Neon Bull, dir: Gabriel Mascaro
Special Prize for Best Actor or Actress:
Dominique Leborne, Tempête
Best Short Film:
Belladonna, dir: Dubravka Turic
Lion of the Future – “Luigi De Laurentiis” Venice Award for a Debut Film:
The Childhood Of A Leader, dir: Brady Corbet
Best Documentary on Cinema:
The 1000 Eyes Of Dr Maddin, dir: Yves Montmayeur
Salo, Or The 120 Days Of Sodom, dir: Pier Paolo Pasolini
VENICE DAYS AWARD
Early Winter, dir: Michael Rowe
BNL PEOPLE´S CHOICE AWARD
As I Open My Eyes, dir: Leyla Bouzid
LABEL EUROPA CINEMAS
As I Open My Eyes, dir: Leyla Bouzid
LAGUNA SUD PRIZE
Best Film: Lolo, dir: Julie Delpy
Best Italian Discovery: Arianna, dir: Carlo Lavagna
FEDEORA PRIZES (Federation of Film Critics of Europe and the Mediterranean)
Best European Film in Competition: Francofonia, dir: Alexander Sokurov
Best Film: Underground Fragrance, dir: Pengfei
Best Young Director: Ruchika Oberoi, Island City
Best Young Actress: Ondina Quadri, Arianna
Best Film: Kalo Pothi, dir: Bahadur Bham Min
Best DoP: Benthey Dean, Tanna