Iranian film, The Circle (Dayereh) grabbed the top honours at the 57th Venice film festival.
After the disappointments that had marked the competition section until the first weekend, it became clear that Jafar Panahi's episodic tale recounting the ongoing humiliations of women in modern Iranian society, had every chance of taking home a prize. Its final haul included the Golden Lion and the FIPRESCI jury prize.
The jury, headed by Milos Forman, awarded its second prize to Before Night Falls, artist Julian Schnabel's portrait of Cuban writer Reinaldo Arenas, and another film that from early on appeared to be in the running for reward. With the heat on, it was acquired for the US by Fine Line and for the rest of the world by Overseas even before its official screening. Its star Javier Bardem also won the acting prize.
Other acting prizes, the Coupe Volpi went to Rose Byrne for Clara Law's The Goddess Of 1967 and the Mastroianni medal to Megan Burns for Stephen Frears' Liam.
The script prize went to Claudio Fava, Monica Zappelli and Marco Tullio Giordana for Marco Tullio Giordana's The Hundred Steps (I Cento Passi), while the prize for best directing was awarded to Buddhadeb Dasgupta's The Wrestlers (Uttara).
The Luigi Di Laurentiis prize for best first film went to Abdel Kechiche's immigration drama La Faute A Voltaire, which appeared in the Critics' Week sidebar.
Barbet Schroeder's Our Lady Of The Assassins (La Virgen De Los Sicarios) fulfilled its promise and came away with the senate medal. But other pre-festival favourites including Sally Potter's The Man Who Cried, Dr T And The Women and Xavier Beauvois' Selon Matthieu all came away empty handed.
Tsui Hark's Time And Tide won a prize for its use of digital technology from the Future Film Festival, a committee which runs its own festival in January and awards digital prizes within the Venice event.
Full Prize List
Dayereh (dir. Jafar Panahi)
Grand Jury Prize:
Before Night Falls (dir: Julian Schnabel)
Buddhadeb Dasgupta for Uttara
Claudio Fava - Monica Zappelli - Marco Tulli Giordana
I Cento Passi (dir. Marco Tullio Giordana)
Coppa Volpi (Best actor)
Javier Bardem in Before Night Falls (dir. Julian Schnabel)
Coppa Volpi (Best actress)
Rose Byrne in The Goddess of 1967 (dir. Clara Law)
Marcello Mastroianni Prize:
Megan Burns in Liam (dir. Stephen Frears)
Gold Medal Of The President Of The Senate:
La Virgen De Los Sicarios (dir Barbet Schroeder)
Luigi De Laurentiis Prize for Best First Film:
La Faute A Voltaire (dir Abdel Kechiche)
Best film in official competition: Dayereh (dir. Jafar Panahi)
Best film in other sections: Thomas Est Amourex (Dir. Pierre Paul Renders)
Future Film Festival prize
Time And Tide (Dir. Tsui Hark)
Special mention for technical achievement Denti
A Telephone Call For Genevieve Snow (dir Peter Long)
Trajets (dir. Faouzi Bensaidi)
Sem Movimento (dir. Sandro Aguilar)