'Poetic' Italian documentary takes top honor at Venice filmfest

Updated: 2013-09-08 09:53


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He said the award to "Sacro GRA" was "a bold move by the jury to give a prize for a documentary and I think that it's indicative of the rise of documentaries in the last few years".

The Silver Lion for best director among the 20 entries in the main competition went to Greece's Alexandros Avranas for "Miss Violence", about a family where the father pimps out his children and grandchildren.

'Poetic' Italian documentary takes top honor at Venice filmfest

Italian director Gianfranco Rosi wins Golden Lion Award

'Poetic' Italian documentary takes top honor at Venice filmfest

'Sacro Gra' debuts in Venice

The cup for best actor was awarded to Themis Panou for his performance as the abusive father in "Miss Violence" while the best actress award went to Elena Cotta of Italy for her role in director Emma Dante's "Via Castellana Bandiera", about a stand-off between women drivers in Palermo, Sicily.

"Philomena", the Judi Dench and Steve Coogan two-hander about an elderly Irishwoman searching for the son that nuns had forced her to give up for adoption, was a festival favourite but won only a best screenplay for Coogan and co-writer Jeff Pope.

Tye Sheridan, the American actor who plays a young boy from a violent background in the southern US film "Joe" starring Nicolas Cage, said after winning an award for best new actor that his idol was James Dean.

Festival director Alberto Barbera had said the line-up of films in the competition emphasised a dark and violent reality, stemming in part from the global economic crisis.

"Sacro GRA" includes shots of sex workers along the ring road, but other films at Venice focused on themes such as incest, family violence, child prostitution and even necrophilia in the Franco movie adapted from a Cormac McCarthy novella.

Taiwanese director Tsai Ming-liang, a former Golden Lion winner, landed a Grand Jury Prize for his film "Stray Dogs" about a man and his two children living on the fringes of society in the Taiwanese capital.

Toronto, whose film festival overlaps Venice, screens more than 350 films, while Venice had 20 in competition for the Golden Lion and some 40 more in other festival tracks.

"I think that Toronto casts a very wide net and Venice has no interest and no space to compete with that," said Eric J. Lyman, correspondent in Italy for trade publication The Hollywood Reporter.

But he said the Venice award can give a boost even to big-budget productions, like Mexican director Alfonso Cuaron's space disaster drama "Gravity" starring George Clooney and Sandra Bullock which kicked off the festival last week with a bang.


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