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VENICE 2021 Awards Venice’s Golden Lion goes to Happening by Audrey Diwan
by Davide Abbatescianni, Cineuropa 11/09/2021
VENICE 2021: Other big European winners of the evening include Paolo Sorrentino, awarded the Jury’s Grand Prize for The Hand of God, and Penélope Cruz who scooped the Volpi Cup for Parallel Mothers.
The 78th edition of the Venice International Film Festival, held between 1 and 11 September, has now come to an end in the Sala Grande.
The closing ceremony, hosted by actress Serena Rossi, saw Audrey Diwan’s Happening crowned the winner by jury president Bong Joon-ho, who awarded it with the highly prestigious Golden Lion for Best Film. The Korean director was assisted in his jury duties by Chloé Zhao, Saverio Costanzo, Alexander Nanau, Virginie Efira, Cynthia Erivo and Sarah Gadon.
In her speech, Diwan reeled off a long list of thank yous, praising Anamaria Vartolomei in particular, whom she described as “not just a simple actress, but the film itself”. The director invited her protagonist up on stage with her, to lengthy applause from the audience. The French drama which was adapted from Annie Ernaux’s novel of the same name, recounts the author’s experience of abortion when the latter was still illegal in France in the 1960s.
The other big winners of this year’s edition were Paolo Sorrentino, who was awarded the Silver Lion - Grand Jury Prize for his intimate tale The Hand of God, and Jane Campion, who scooped the Silver Lion for Best Director by way of The Power of the Dog.
Before handing out these prizes, the protagonist of the Philippine film On the Job. Missing 8John Arcilla was awarded the Volpi Cup for Best Actor, which he acknowledged via a video-message relaying his thanks, while leaving director Erik Matti to accept the trophy in person, on his behalf.
Penélope Cruz, for her part, bagged the Volpi Cup for Best Actress following her performance in parallel mothers. Delivered in Italian and English, her acceptance speech saw her singing the praises of her director Pedro Almodóvar and the various “parallel mothers” in her own life, namely her mother, and her mother-in-law Pilar Bardem who recently passed away.
Visibly moved, Filippo Scotti was entrusted with the Marcello Mastroianni Award, having blown the judges away with his portrayal of Fabietto, Paolo Sorrentino’s alter-ego, in The Hand of God.
Jury president Jasmila ®baniæ and her fellow jury members from the Orizzonti section - Mona Fastvold, Shahram Mokri, Josh Siegel and Nadia Terranova – handed out awards for Best Film, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Direction, Best Screenplay and Best Short Film, in addition to a special prize. The Best Film of this particular line-up was Pilgrims by Laurynas Bareiša, who thanked the festival selection committee profusely, along with the cast, the crew and the Lithuanian Film Centre.
This section also saw the drama Full Time achieve an impressive double victory: Eric Gravel was named Best Director while Laure Calamy bagged herself the trophy for Best Actress.
Last but not least, the Future Lion went to the Romanian film Immaculate, directed by Monica Stan and George Chiper-Lillemark (also the winner of the GdA Director's Award in the Giornate degli Autori - read news). Announced by Uberto Pasolini, the film’s triumph was followed by a speech given by Stan, who thanked her crew as well as the Giornate degli Autori team for having selected the film, and the Biennale College where the project had been developed some years earlier. The prize consists of $100,000, to be shared between the directors and the producer.
The full list of this year’s winners is as follows:
Golden Lion for Best Film Happening - Audrey Diwan (France)
Silver Lion - Grand Jury Prize The Hand of God - Paolo Sorrentino (Italy)
Silver Lion - Award for Best Director The Power of the Dog - Jane Campion (New Zealand/Australia)
Volpi Cup for Best Actress Penélope Cruz - Parallel Mothers (Spain)
Volpi Cup for Best Actor John Arcilla - On the Job: The Missing 8 (Philippines)
Award for Best Screenplay Maggie Gyllenhaal - The Lost Daughter (USA/Greece/UK/Israel)
Special Jury Prize Il buco - Michelangelo Frammartino (Italy/Germany/France)
Marcello Mastroianni Award for Best New Talent Filippo Scotti - The Hand of God (Italy)
Best Film Pilgrims - Laurynas Bareisa (Lithuania)
Best Director Eric Gravel - Full Time (France)
Special Jury Prize El gran movimiento - Kiro Russo (Bolivia/France/Qatar/Switzerland)
Best Actress Laure Calamy - Full Time
Best Actor Piseth Chhun - White Building (Cambodia/France/China/Qatar)
Best Screenplay Ivan Ostrochovský, Peter Kerekes - 107 Mothers (Slovakia/Czech Republic/Ukraine)
Best Short Film Los huesos - Cristóbal León, Joaquín Cociña (Chile)
Audience Award The Blind Man Who Did Not Want to See Titanic - Teemu Nikki (Finland)
Lion of the Future - "Luigi de Laurentiis" Award for a Debut Film Immaculate - Monica Stan, George Chiper-Lillemark (Romania)
Venice Virtual Reality
Best VR Goliath: Playing with Reality - Barry Gene Murphy, May Abdalla (UK/France)
Best Experience Le bal de Paris - Blanca Li (France/Germany/Luxembourg)
Best VR Story End of Night - David Adler (Denmark/France)