Venice winners: Joker and the migrants!

The Golden Lion goes to Todd Phillip’s Joker, a film that built audience and critical consensus at the 76th Venice International Film Festival, although the jury’s decision has not been unanimous. On stage, the director and the protagonist Joaquin Phoenix. Strong emotions and political speeches in the words of most of the winners, during the long award ceremony hosted by actress Alessandra Mastronardi, who introduced the several juries headed by Costanza Quatriglio (Venice Classics), Laurie Anderson (VR), Emir Kusturica (First Films), Susanna Nicchiarelli (Orizzonti). Last but not least, Argentinian director Lucrecia Martel, who reminded us that films are made to make us think and talk, something that she and her jury colleagues, including Paolo Virzì, did very well. Managing to dismiss the regrettable Polanski affair that ignited the first days of the festival, the Silver Lion Jury Grand Prize went to his An Officer and A Spy, with Emmanuelle Seigner, wife of the director, on stage to receive the prize with producer Luca Barbareschi.

Yesterday’s and today’s migrants have been at the core of the ceremony, with the emotional and sincere words of Luca Marinelli and Ariane Ascaride. The Italian actor, Volpi Cup for Pietro Marcello’s Martin Eden, reminded how writer Jack London created the character of this sailor who looks for truth. “I want to dedicate this prize to all those out at sea who save people fleeing unimaginable situations. Long live humanity, and long live love!”

French actress Ariane Ascaride wins the Volpi Cup for her role in Gloria mundi by her husband-director Robert Guédiguian, an accomplished film tackling social topics in which a woman is forced to work during a strike in order to make ends meet while, at the same, she finds again her young love who left prison after many years. “I am the daughter of Italian migrants, who jumped on a ship to flee misery. In Marseille they found a safe port and a culture that welcomed them. Being the son of two, three cultures is a privilege and I want to dedicate this award, that takes me back to my origins, to all those who sleep into the depths of the Mediterranean Sea forever.”

Franco Maresco, director of the wry and hard-hitting La mafia non è più quella di una volta and winner of the Special Jury Prize did not attend the ceremony. The film will be released by Luce Cinecittà. On stage, producer Rean Mazzone said no to all forms of censorship. The reference is to the infamous facts of Totò che visse due volte, a film that in 1998 was accused of “offending morality and religion”, causing huge problems to its authors, Maresco himself and Daniele Ciprì, and almost destroyed their careers.

Italian jury member Paolo Virzì stated that he had not to fight to award these two Italian films. “I just explained who is Maresco and what’s the story of Falcone and Borsellino, otherwise the film was loved by everyone. In the case of Marinelli too, his sensuality and sensitivity immediately hit the target.”

Somehow a double the Silver Lion for Best Director awarded to Sweden’s Roy Andersson, who already won the Golden Lion with a film very similar to this About Endlessness. Again, minimal tableaux vivants interrogates the absurdity of life and God.

Best script went to Yonfan for his animation film No.7 Cherry Lane, a love triangle between a young teacher, his student, and her mother in Hong Long. “They always said my scripts are bad, but this award mean they are wrong.” The Marcello Mastroianni Award went to Toby Wallace for his role in Shannon Murphy’s intense Babyteeth.

The Lion of the Future Luigi De Laurentiis Award for a Debut Film went to Amjad Abu Alala’s You Will Die at 20, presented in the Giornate degli autori section.