Puzzling critics who had expected something more meaty to win, Mira Nair's lighthearted and thoroughly entertaining Monsoon Wedding took the top prize, the Golden Lion, in Venice's traditionally auteur dominated competition section. Meanwhile Laurent Cantet's Time Out (L'Emploi Du Temps), the story of a man who invents a fictional life for himself after losing his job, took the Golden Lion in the newly elevated Cinema Of The Present Section.

Austrian drama Hundstage, which deeply divided critics, but had the merit of keeping them talking almost from the first day, took the Grand Jury prize in the competition section, while Damien Odoul's Deep Breath (Le Souffle) and the rather less talked about Seafood (Haixian) shared the equivalent award in the Cinema Of The Present.

That seemed typical of a roster of prizes that ignored many of the widely expected favourites. Empty handed from the Venezia 58 competition strand were Alejandro Amenabar's The Others, Walter Salles' Behind The Sun, Andre Techine's Loin and Ken Loach's The Navigators as well as Clare Peploe's The Triumph Of Love, which was judged worthy of being bought by Paramount Classics for much of the world. In the Cinema Of The Present section surprising omissions included Zhang Yang's Quitting, Sandra Goldbacher's Me Without You and Jill Sprecher's Thirteen Conversations About One Thing.

The Coppa Volpi acting prizes went to Italians Luigi Lo Casto and Sandra Ceccarelli both for The Light Of My Eyes (Luce Diei Mei Occhi), a film which scored lowest in a poll of Italian daily newspaper critics. The result was roundly booed by the press corps in the closing ceremony's overspill room

More happily received were the best screenplay award to Alfonso and Carlos Cuaron for Your Mother As Well (Y Tu Mama Tambien) and the Marcello Mastroianni prize for best newcomers which was earned by the same film's male stars Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna.

Earlier in the day a series of smaller prizes went to a predominantly French group of pictures. 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. In the Cinema Del Presente and Critics' Week sections FIPRESCI rewarded Damien Odoul's Deep Breath (Le Souffle) as its top film.

The Critics' Week section was won by local Italian film Sailing Home (Tornando A Casa), a film about the desperate plight of Sicilian fishermen a first feature by Vincenzo Marra.

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.

Full Prize List: Venice Film Festival 2001

Venezia 58 (competition)

Golden Lion

Monsoon Wedding Dir: Mira Nair

Grand Jury Prize

Dog Days (Hundstage) Dir: Ulrich Seidl

Special Prize For Best Director

Babak Payami for Secret Ballot (Raye Makhfi)

Best Screenplay

Alfonso Cuaron for Y Tu Mama Tambien

Coppa Volpi for Best Actor

Luigi Lo Casto in Light Of My Eyes (Luce Dei Miei Occhi)

Coppa Volpi for Best Actress

Sandra Ceccarelli in Light Of My Eyes (Luce Dei Miei Occhi)

Marcello Mastroianni Prize

Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna in Y Tu Mama Tambien

Cinema Of The Present

Golden Lion

Time Out (L'Emploi Du Temps) Dir: Laurent Cantet

Grand Jury Prize (shared)

Deep Breath (Le Souffle) Dir: Damien Odoul


Seafood (Haixian) Dir: Zhu Wen

Other Official prizes

Luigi Di Laurentiis Best First Film Prize - Lion Of The Future

Jan Cvitkovic for Kruh In Mleko

Best Short Film

The Whiz Kids (Freunde) Dir Jan Krueger

Other Prizes

FIPRESCI - main competition films

Wild Innocence (Sauvage Innocence) Dir: Philippe Garrel

FIPRESCI - Cinema Of The Present And Critics Week Films

Deep Breath (Le Souffle) Dir: Damien Odoul

Future Film Festival Prize (Special Effects)

A.I. Artificial Intelligence Dir: Steven Spielberg

Special Mention

The Lady And The Duke (L'Anglaise Et Le Duc) Dir Eric Rohmer.