Roy Andersson‘s A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence has won the Golden Lion at the 71st Venice International Film Festival. The International Jury for the Competition, presided over by composer Alexandre Desplat (the other members: Joan Chen, Philip Gröning, Jessica Hausner, Jhumpa Lahiri, Sandy Powell, Tim Roth, Elia Suleiman and Carlo Verdone) have also presented the following awards (click the titles for entries gathering first rounds of critical reaction).
Silver Lion for Best Director: Andrei Konchalovsky for The Postman’s White Nights. “How do you even go about describing a non-verbal, non-intellectual reaction, one that happened almost against your will and without your knowing it was coming?” asks Jessica Kiang at the Playlist. “And certainly, how do you do that without grotesquely overselling the experience of a film that in any one moment can feel banal, unformed, simple to the point of simplistic? The Postman’s White Nights is being widely celebrated as a quasi-documentary, marked by a droll sense of humor that illuminates life in a forgotten corner of the world. And it is that, no doubt, but for us it went much further than mere anthropological interest: if it presents an accurate picture of this reality, then it feels like it’s a reality that is unstable, so far cut off from the mainstream of life that it has begun to fray into the surreal and the magic at the edges.” More from David Rooney (Hollywood Reporter) and Jay Weissberg (Variety). The Financial Times‘ Nigel Andrews calls Postman “another of the antic ‘anti-movies’ in which Venice has rejoiced. Non-actors play themselves in rural Russia. A tale is spun, like a roulette wheel, in which happenstance is as important as design…. What matters is the charm and chutzpah of a people knowing that the life on their doorstep is as important as the life beyond; and the skill of a veteran filmmaker who knows the same, with space for some mild moments of opportune indignation against the rulers who, locally and nationally, can wreck our lives.”
Grand Jury Prize: Joshua Oppenheimer’s The Look of Silence.
Marcello Mastroianni Award for Best New Young Actor or Actress: Romain Paul for his performance in Alix Delaporte’s The Last Hammer Blow. “A downcast French adolescent is convincingly torn in a hundred different directions,” writes the Hollywood Reporter‘s Boyd van Hoeij. “Clotilde Hesme [plays] Nadia, a severely ill, trailer-dwelling mother while Gregory Gadebois is Samuel Rovinski, a famous conductor who’s also the estranged father of Nadia’s child. However, it’s taciturn newcomer Romain Paul who steals the show as their tight-lipped 13-year-old son, Victor.”
Award for Best Screenplay: Rakhshan Banietemad and Farid Mostafavi for Tales. It’s “a multi-stranded take on a dozen or so people’s stories intersecting across a single city,” writes Catherine Bray at HitFix. “Some characters are encountered once, never to return, others recur throughout, but it’s not a film with a protagonist or supporting characters in the traditional sense; it’s much more a slice of life/lives.” More from Jay Weissberg (Variety).
Special Jury Prize: Kaan Müjdeci’s Sivas. “Painting an even more severe picture of the Anatolian steppes than the recent works of Nuri Bilge Ceylan, this sparse story of an 11-year-old problem child and the brawny fighter dog he adopts is distinguished by its muscular technical brio and rich, integral sense of place,” writes Variety‘s Guy Lodge. “As storytelling, however, it’s less rewarding, taking rather too long to get into gear and abruptly ending at its most critical point of conflict.” More from Boyd van Hoeij (Hollywood Reporter).
Ann Hui, whose The Golden Era has officially closed this year’s edition, has presided over the Orizzonti (Horizons) jury; the other members: Moran Atias, Pernilla August, David Chase, Mahamat-Saleh Haroun, Roberto Minervini and Alin Tasciyan.
Orizzonti Award for Best Film: Chaitanya Tamhane’s Court. “There are courtroom dramas, and then there’s Court, Chaitanya Tamhane’s impressive debut, which flays alive India’s justice system while commenting on class, education and access to power,” writes Variety‘s Jay Weissberg. “Managing to be both extremely rational and extremely humane, the film works so well thanks to an intelligent, superbly understated script and a feel for naturalism that extends beyond mere performance. Tamhane’s judicious entry into lives outside the courtroom provides texture and depth, making this well-rounded depiction of a dysfunctional judiciary an engrossing piece of cinema.”
Orizzonti Award for Best Director: Naji Abu Nowar for Theeb.
Special Orizzonti Jury Prize: Franco Maresco’s Belluscone. Una storia siciliana.
Special Orizzonti Award for Best Actor or Actress: Emir Hadžihafizbegović for his performance in Ognjen Sviličić’s These Are the Rules.
Best Short Film: Sidi Saleh’s Maryam.
Alice Rohrwacher has headed up the International Jury for the “Luigi De Laurentiis” Venice Award for a Debut Film. The other members: Lisandro Alonso, Ron Mann, Vivian Qu and Razvan Radulescu. The winner: Chaitanya Tamhane’s Court. Four out of five stars from CineVue‘s John Bleasdale.
Best Venice Classics Documentary: Francesco Montagner and Alberto Girotto’s Animated Resistance.
Venice Classics Award for Best Restored Film: Ettore Scola’s Una Giornata Particolare (1977).
Presented by entities independent of the festival.
FIPRESCI Awards. Best Film of Venezia 71: Joshua Oppenheimer’s The Look of Silence. Best Film of Orizzonti and International Critics’ Week: Vuk Ršumovic’s No One’s Child. “The premise of No One’s Child might lead savvy viewers to expect a virtual rerun of François Truffaut’s neglected 1970 gem The Wild Child,” suggests Variety‘s Guy Lodge. “Rsumovic’s film has very much its own concerns, however, with the story of one boy’s evolution posing broader questions about personal and national identity, not to mention the relative merits of human versus animal savagery. Happily, Rsumovic’s screenplay largely eschews obvious bleeding-heart rhetoric, counting on the actors’ physical interplay to convey social contrast and conflict.”
Francesco Pasinetti Awards. Best film: Francesco Munzi’s Black Souls. Best actors: Elio Germano (Mario Martone’s Leopardi) and Alba Rohrwacher (Saverio Costanzo’s Hungry Hearts). Special Award to Saverio Costanzo, director of Hungry Hearts (Venezia 71). Special Award to Pierfrancesco Favino, actor and producer of Senza nessuna pietà (Orizzonti). Special Award to Ivano De Matteo’s The Dinner (Venice Days).
Brian Award. Tal Granit and Sharon Maymon’s The Farewell Party.
Queer Lion Award. Mario Fanfani’s Summer Nights.
Arca Cinema Giovani Award. Best Film of Venezia 71: David Oelhoffen’s Far from Men. Best Italian film: Franco Maresco’s Belluscone. Una storia siciliana.
FEDIC Award. Antonio Augugliaro, Gabriele Del Grande and Khaled Soliman Al Nassiry’s On the Bride’s Side. Special Mention “Fedic – Il Giornale del Cibo”: Gabriele Salvatores’s Italy in a Day.
Fondazione Mimmo Rotella Award. Luigi Musini, for Francesco Munzi’s Black Souls.
Future Film Festival Digital Award. Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Birdman. Special Mention: Gabriele Salvatores’s Italy in a Day.
P. Nazareno Taddei Award. Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Birdman.
Lanterna Magica (CGS) Award. Alix Delaporte’s The Last Hammer Blow.
Open Award. Rä di Martino (The Show MAS Go On).
Mouse d’Oro Award. Best film of Venezia 71: Joshua Oppenheimer’s The Look of Silence. Best out of competition film: Lisa Cholodenko’s Olive Kitteridge.
The Most Innovative Budget. Gabriele Salvatores’s Italy in a Day.
Gillo Pontecorvo Award – Arcobaleno Latino. Rä di Martino’s The Show MAS Go On.
Interfilm Award for Promoting Interreligious Dialogue. David Oelhoffen’s Far from Men.
Young Jury Members of the Vittorio Veneto Film Festival. Best film: Ramin Bahrani’s 99 Homes. Special Mention for the work of Fatih Akin (The Cut). Best actor: Elio Germano (Mario Martone’s Leopardi).
“Civitas Vitae prossima” Award. Ivan Gergolet for Dancing with Maria.
Green Drop Award. Andrej Koncalovskij’s The Postman’s White Nights.
Schermi di Qualità Award – Carlo Mazzacurati. Francesco Munzi’s Black Souls.
RaroVideo – International Critics’ Week Award. Vuk Ršumovic’s No One’s Child.
Europa Cinemas Label Award. Best European Movie from Venice Days: Ivano de Matteo’s The Dinner.
Fedeora Awards. Venice Days, Best Film: Kim Ki-duk‘s One on One. Best director of a debut film to Aditya Vikram Sengupta for Labour of Love. Venice International Film Critics Week, Best screenwriter: Vuk Ršumovic for No One’s Child. Best film: Diep Hoang Nguyen’s Flapping in the Middle of Nowhere. Venezia 71, Award for Best Euro-Mediterranean film: Joshua Oppenheimer’s The Look of Silence.
Human Rights Nights Award. Antonio Augugliaro, Gabriele Del Grande and Khaled Soliman Al Nassiry’s On the Bride’s Side and Joshua Oppenheimer’s The Look of Silence.
Piccioni Award. Sascha Ring’s soundtrack for Mario Martone’s Leopardi.
AssoMusica “Ho visto una Canzone” Award. To the song “Just One Day” from Gabriele Salvatores’s Italy in a Day.
“Sorriso diverso Venezia 2014” Award. Antonio Augugliaro, Gabriele Del Grande and Khaled Soliman Al Nassiry’s On the Bride’s Side.