While the results of the main Venezia 58 and Cinema Del Presente sections were awaited with a sense of bewilderment by some critics, the Venice festival began to unlock some of its secrets.

Those secrets had a very French flavour. For films in the main Venezia 58 section, the FIPRESCI jury gave its prize to Wild Innocence (Sauvage Innocence) by veteran French director Philippe Garrel. The film about an obsessive film-maker whose lovers are brought down by drugs is sold by Wild Bunch. FIPRESCI credited it with simple narration and "the power of the director's visual expression."

In the Cinema Del Presente and Critics' Week sections FIPRESCI named another French picture, Damien Odoul's Deep Breath (Le Souffle) as its top film. The film about alcohol abuse and the loss of childhood innocence was cited for Odoul's "magical creation of a cinematographic universe." International sales are handled by MK2.

The Critics' Week section was won by local Italain film Sailing Home (Tornando A Casa), a film about the desperate plight of Sicilian fishermen a first feature by Vincenzo Marra, a director who was previously Marco Bechis' assistant on Garage Olimpo. The film is distributed in Italy by Venice 58 jury chief Nanni Moretti's company Sacher Distribuzione and sold by Pablo.

The Future Film Festival awarded its digital prize for the best special effects and best use of digital technology to Steven Spielberg's A.I. Artificial Intelligence. The jury cited it appropriately enough with "intelligence and artificiality". There was a special mention too for Eric Rohmer's The Lady And The Duke (L'Anglaise Et Le Duc), which curiously uses digital effects to give a stagey effect to scenes from France's late 18th century France's ancien regime. The film is sold by Pathe International.