AngLee's Brokeback Mountain has won the Golden Lion at the 62nd Venice Film Festival.The Grand Jury prize went to Abel Ferrara for Mary, while George Clooney'sheavily-tipped Good Night. And Good Luck won two consolation prizes - Best Actorfor David Strathairn's portrayal of journalist Edward R Murrow, and a Lion forClooney's own screenplay written with producer Grant Heslov.
BrokebackMountain'stop prize, which was handed out to Ang Lee by Japanese animation master HayaoMiyazaki, marks the second time in a row that a film believed to have beenpassed over by the Cannes Film Festival has taken the Golden Lion at Veniceafter last year's Vera Drake.
Thefilm, which screened on Saturday in Toronto's Masters section, is based on anE. Annie Proulx novella and stars Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal as twoWyoming cowboys whose on-screen love affair has bowled over internationalcritics.
AngLee said he had only just arrived at his hotel in Toronto when he was told thathe should perhaps turn around and head back to Venice. "This is my Torontolook," he smiled at the press conference after the awards ceremony. Lee saidthat as an Asian filmmaker, winning a prize in Venice had a specialsignificance.
"To us, it's a great festival for Asiancinema. Kurosawa won the Golden Lion. So as an Asian filmmaker, this is veryspecial. I have always had the impression that Venice is the most auteur of allthe festivals. I never thought I'd come here. After two big productions, Ithought I'd do a small movie that really moved me. I didn't think a lot ofpeople would see it. It is very, very rewarding. I can't tell you how proud Iam."
Leealso had some words of praise for festival director Marco Mueller. This year'sVenice is considered to have had a high standard of films - although somethought it did lack a truly exceptional title - and to have largely overcomethe organisational disaster that marred last year's event.
"It's been a great festival," Lee said."Thank you to Marco for your great hospitality. You've been a great host."
AlthoughGoodnight. And Good Luck had been a frontrunner for the Golden Lion, George Clooneywas positively glowing when he picked up his best screenplay award withproducer and long-time friend Grant Heslov.
"Grazie mille!" said the actor, whosehuge Italian fan base has grown since he bought a villa on Lake Como, where hespends his summers under the eyes of the local paparazzi. "I am very happy tobe here," he said in broken Italian.
Ona more serious note, Clooney underlined the resonance that Ed Murrow's ideasabout freedom of speech still have today.
"This screenplay was written 51 yearsago by Edward Murrow, who gave us a valuable lesson of responsibility, and toalways question authority - or authority unchecked corrupts."
"Ed Murrow's words remind me of thebattles my father (a former TV anchorman) fought in the newsroom, to not pushtruth aside for entertainment. That's a battle journalists still have to fighttoday," Clooney added: "This award is a tribute to the reporters who are inAfghanistan or in our poor city of New Orleans, who risk their lives to bringus the truth."
TheGrand Jury Prize went to Abel Ferrara for Mary. "This is the first time we'veever won anything. I hope it doesn't change our luck," he quipped, before adding:"This really, really helps in terms of getting the film out there. For ourfathers and our children, thank you."
Othertop prizes at Venice saw the Silver Lion for Best Director go to PhilippeGarrel, for Regular Lovers (Les Amants Reguliers). The film also netteda technical award. The Volpi Cup for Best Actress, meanwhile, went to localfavourite Giovanna Mezzogiorno for her role in La Bestia Nel Cuore (Don't Tell).
Inan unusual move, the Venice Jury, led by Dante Ferretti, decided to awardFrench actress Isabelle Huppert, who appeared in the festival in PatriceChereau's Gabrielle, a career Special Lion - only the second time in 20 yearsthis award has been handed out.
Fulllist of awards:
Golden Lion - BrokebackMountain, by AngLee
Silver Lion for Best director - Les Amants Reguliers, by Philippe Garrel
Special Jury Prize - Mary, by Abel Ferrara
Coppa Volpi for Best actor - David Strathairn, for Goodnight, And Good Luck.
Coppa Volpi for Best actress - Giovanna Mezzogiorno, for La Bestia Nel Cuore
Osella for best screenplay - George Clooney, Grant Heslov for Goodnight, AndGood Luck.
Osella for best technical contribution - William Lubtchansky, for thecinematography on Les Amants Reguliers.
MarcelloMastroianni prize to young actor or actress - Menothy Cesar in Vers Le Sudby Laurent Cantet
Special Lion -Isabelle Huppert, for her contribution to cinema
Orizzonti prize - The First on the Moon by Aleksey Fedortchenko
Orizzonti Doc prize - East of Paradise by Lech Kowalski
Lion of the Future for best first film - 13 (Tzameti) by Gela Babluani
Label Europa Cinemas - Venice Days 2005 Prize - LePetit Lieutenant, by Xavier Beauvois
Fipresci Competition Prize - Good Night, And Good Luck
Corto Cortissimo (best short film) - Small Station by Lin Chien-ping
UIP prize for best european short - Butterflies by Max Jacoby
Special mention (short film) - Layla Afel by Leon Prudovsky