French director Audrey Diwan’s abortion drama Happening (L’Eventement) has won the Golden Lion for best film in an historic night at the 2021 Venice Film Festival that marked the second consecutive year a film directed by a woman has won the top prize following Chloe Zhao’s triumph for Nomadland in 2020.
Wild Bunch handles international sales on Happening, which led an unprecedented sweep of Golden Lion, Silver Lion for directing and screenplay awards by female filmmakers.
Jane Campion took the directing prize for her Western The Power Of The Dog and Maggie Gyllenhaal won screenplay honours for her directorial debut The Lost Daughter.
Paolo Sorrentino’s Silver Lion The Hand Of God earned the Venice Silver Lion – grand jury prize on a night that boosted Netflix’s awards season prospects with The Hand Of God, The Power Of The Dog and The Lost Daughter all in its war chest.
Penelope Cruz claimed the Coppa Volpi best actress award for Pedro Almodovar’s Parallel Mothers which Sony Pictures Classics will release in the US, and John Arcilla took corresponding best actor honours for On The Job: The Missing 8. Filippo Scotti, was named best young actor for The Hand Of God.
The honours for Diwan, Campion and Gyllenhaal extend a mighty run of form for women filmmakers at prestige festivals this year after Julia Ducournau became the first solo female director to win the Cannes Palme d’Or for Titane in July. (Campion’s The Piano shared the award in 1993 with Chen Kaige’s Farewell My Concubine.) On top of that, Chloe Zhao triumphed in the best film and directing categories at the Oscars in April for Nomadland.
2021 Venice Film Festival winners
Golden Lion for best film
Happening by Audrey Diwan
Silver Lion grand jury prize
The Hand Of God
Dir: Paolo Sorrentino
Silver Lion for best director
Jane Campion for The Power Of The Dog
Maggie Gyllenhaal for The Lost Daughter
Coppa Volpi for best actor
John Arcilla for On The Job: The Missing 8
Coppa Volpi for best actress
Penelope Cruz for Parallel Mothers
Special jury prize
Dir: Michelangelo Frammartino
Lion of the Future award for best debut film
Dirs: Monica Stan, George Chiper-Lillemark
Marcello Mastroianni Award for best young actor:
Filippo Scotti in The Hand Of God
Dir: Laurynas Bareiša
Eric Gravel for A Plein Temps
Laure Calamy for A Plein Temps
Piseth Chhun for White Building
Peter Kerekes, Ivan Ostrochovský for 107 Mothers
Special Jury Prize
El Gran Movimiento
Dir: Kiro Russo
Best first film
Dir: Laurynas Bareiša.