The Magdalene Sisters, by Scottish director Peter Mullan, scooped the top prize, the Golden Lion, at the closing ceremony of the Venice film festival.
The film about a group of apparently promiscuous girls and their cruel treatment at the hands of Irish nuns, screened near the beginning of the festival but remained a front-runner throughout. It attracted wide critical praise, though later in the week was criticised by the Catholic church via its Vatican newspaper.
Russian veteran Andrei Konchalovski was awarded the Grand Jury prize for his House Of Fools (Dom Durakov), a tale about the inmates of a lunatic asylum who are blissfully unaware of the Chechen war raging only metres from their door.
Korea's Lee Chang-Dong was named best director for Oasis, the story of a tragic relationship between a woman with cerebral palsy and a slightly stupid ex-convict. The film also won its actress Moon So-Ri the Marcello Mastroianni acting prize.
The main acting prizes went to Julianne Moore for her stand-out performance as a woman caught between two scandals in Todd Haynes' Far From Heaven and Italy's Stefano Accorsi who played poet Dino Campana in A Voyage Called Love (Un Viaggio Chiamato Amore). Far From Heaven also won a prize for Ed Lachman's cinematography.
In the renamed Upstream (Controcorrente) alternative competition section Tian Zhuangzhuang won the new San Marco prize with Springtime In A Small Town. The film is a stunningly executed remake of a 1950s Chinese classic, which shows the impact on a family when an old acquaintance unexpectedly comes to stay.
In the same section the jury prize went to Shinya Tsukamoto's A Snake Of June Rokugatsu No Hebi, while two films which utterly divided audiences Arturo Ripstein's La Virgen De La Lujura and Fruit Chan's Public Toilet (Renmin Gongche) earned special mentions.
Missing from the official prize-list were the heavily fancied The Man On The Train (L'Homme Du Train) by Patrice Leconte, Takeshi Kitano's Dolls, a triptych about death, and Stephen Frears' audience pleaser Dirty Pretty Things, which screened late and appeared capable of upsetting the early favourites.
While there were innumerable rumours of behind the scenes squabbling and occasional hints of disorganisation, the festival did not give away many outward signs of the chaos and haste with which it was put together.
Indeed, having been given a bumpy ride at the beginning by some sections of the Italian industry, Moritz De Hadeln, the stand-in artistic director, was by the end earning wide praise from the local press.
Venice 59 main competition prizes 2002
The Magdalene Sisters Dir: Peter Mullan
Grand Jury prize
The House Of Fools (Dom Durakov) Dir: Andrei Konchalovsky
Special prize for best direction
Lee Chang-dong for Oasis
Prize for best individual contribution
Ed Lachman (cinematography) for Far From Heaven
Volpi Cup for best actor
Stefano Accorsi for A Voyage Called Love (Un Viaggio Chiamato Amore)
Volpi Cup for best actress
Julianne Moore for Far From Heaven
"Marcello Mastroianni" Prize for emerging talent
Moon So-Ri in Oasis
Upstream (Controcorrente) prizes 2002
San Marco Prize
Springtime In A Small Town (Xiao Cheng Zhi Chun) Dir: Tian Zhuangzhuang
Special Jury Prize
A Snake Of June (Rokugatsu No Hebi) Dir: Shinya Tsukamoto
La Virgen De La Lujuria Dir: Arturo Ripstein
Public Toilet (Renmin Gongche) Dir: Fruit Chan
Other official prizes
Lion Of The Future (Best first film)
Due Amici Dirs: Spiro Scimone & Francesco Sframeli
Roger Dodger Dir: Dylan Kidd
Short Film Prizes
Silver Lion (best short)
Clown Dir: Irina Efteeva
UIP Prize for best European short
Lover Of Pirates (Kalozok Szeretoje) Dir: Zsofia Peterffy
Tempo Dir: Per Carleson