Still Life (Sanxia Haoren), thelast-minute competition entry by cult Chinese director JiaZhangke, was the surprise winner of the Golden Lionfor Best Film at the Venice Film Festival. Added to the list of 21 competitionfilms halfway through the 12-day Italian festival, Zhangke'sfifth feature, with a slow pace and near absence of plot that alienated manycritics, is set against the background of
Commenting on his GoldenLion, a beaming Zhangke declared that he would"continue to support the weaker sections of thepopulationof my country in my films... for me, this prize representsa recognition of my commitment to this approach".
The Silver Lion for BestDirector went to veteran French director Alain Resnaisfor Private Fears InPublic Places, a dark romantic ensemble comedy based on the drama of thesame name by
The Special Jury Prize wentto Daratt (Dry Season), by Chadian director Mahamat Saleh-Haroun - one ofthree main competition contenders that were commissioned by
Rumours that the seven members of the international jury couldnot reach a consensus were lent weight when jury president Catherine Deneuve convened an unscheduled emergency meeting on themorning of the award ceremony - a time when prizewinners would normally beexpected to be winging their way back to the
In the light of the jury'sdecision, it seems more than likely that the clarification regarded the "SilverLion Revelation" award that was given to Italian director EmanueleCrialese's
After the prize ceremony, Deneuve cut short speculation of jury fireworks bydeclaring that "we didn't have a long discussion about the winner... it hadeverything we liked: beautiful photography, a great story, and characters thatmoved us".
A discretionary Special Lionwas awarded to arthouse duo Jean-Marie Straub and Daniele Huillet, directors of the68-minute Quei Loro Incontri, for "innovation in the language of cinema".
Emmanuel Lubezki,whose inventive cine-verite action photographyenlivened Alfonso Cuaron's sci-fi parable Children of Men, received the Osella for Best Technical Contribution, while Peter Morgan'swidely-praised script for The Queenpicked up the Best Screenplay Osella.
The Marcello Mastroianni award for Best Young Actor went to Isilde Le Besco for her turn as ayoung actress who goes on a quest to
The parallel Horizonscompetition, intended for more experimental films, was won by Courtroom On Horseback (MabeiShang De Fating), the first directorial featureby Chinese DoP Liu Jie,while Spike Lee's four-hour documentary about the devastating 2005 New Orleansfloods, When the Levees Broke: A Requiemin Four Acts, scooped the Horizons Doc Prize.
The lucrative Luigi de Laurentiis prize for a first film from any of thefestival's sections went to Kadakh, a surreal, Mongolian-set ethno-drama byBelgian-based directing team Peter Brosens andJessica Woodworth, which screened in the independent Venice Days sidebar.
In Critics' Week, thefestival's other unofficial sidebar, Dito Montiel's A Guide toRecognizing Your Saints - produced by Sting's wife TrudieStyler - was awarded the Best Film prize by thethree-man jury, adding the prize to the two the film picked up at this year'sSundance Festival.
Full list of official festival awards:
Golden Lion for Best Film - Still Life (Sanxia Haoren)by Jia Zhangke
Silver Lion for Best Director - Alain Resnaisfor Private Fears InPublic Places
Silver Lion Revelation - Emanuele Crialese for GoldenDoor (Nuovomondo)
Special Jury Prize - DrySeason (Daratt) by Mahamat-SalehHaroun
Coppa Volpi for Best Actor - Ben Affleck for Hollywoodland
Coppa Volpi for Best Actress - Helen Mirrenfor The Queen
Osella forBest Screenplay - Peter Morgan for The Queen
Osella for Best Technical Contribution - Emmanuel Lubezki, DoP of Children ofMen
Marcello Mastroianni Award forBest Young Actor - Isild Le Besco,for L'Intouchable
Special Lion - Jean-Marie Straub and DanieleHuillet for innovation in the language of cinema
Horizons Prize - CourtroomOn Horseback (Mabei shang de fating) by Liu Jie
Horizons Doc Prize - WhenThe Levees Broke: A Requiem In Four Acts by SpikeLee
Luigi de Laurentiis prize for BestFirst Film - Khadakby Peter Brosens and Jessica Woodworth
Corto Cortissimo Lion for Best Short Film - Comment on freine dansune descente' by Alix Delaporte
Prix UIP for Best European Short - The Making of Parts by Daniel Elliott
Special Mention (short film) - Adults Only by Yeo JoonHan