Silver Lion goes to People Mountain People Sea; acting prizes go to Michael Fassbender for Shame and Deanie Yip for A Simple Life.

Faust, the final chapter in Russian director Alexsander Sokurov’s four-part series on power has won taken the Golden Lion in the 68th edition of the Venice Film Festival.

Upon presenting the award, jury president Darren Aronofsky said “Some films make you dream, some make you cry, some make you laugh, some change you forever after seeing them …we are from different corners of the planet but we unanimously chose this film - it is my honour to give the Golden Lion to Faust from Alexsander Sokurov.”

The Russian master’s film is not a traditional adaptation of Goethe’s classic - in fact on the Lido many considered the film difficult to watch - although it still rated well with critics.

The jury gave the Silver Lion to People Mountain People Sea - this year’s surprise film entry from Beijing-based Cai Shangjun.

Awarding the film the jury said they were motivated by a film “that keeps us from closing our eyes.”

People Mountain People Sea is a drama about a young man that wants to find the killer of his younger brother and claim a reward. The surprise film is a tradition on the Lido since 2006, the same year Jia Zhangke’s surprise entry Still Life took the Golden Lion.

Emanuele Crialese’s Sicilian-island set Terraferma has taken Venice’s special jury prize. Crialese was extremely moved as he accepted his prize, for his film about North African immigrants’ impact on the inhabitants of small Sicilian islands. The jury called the film a “complex moving story about social issues.”

Crialese kissed each of the jury members before saying “I have to thank Rai Cinema for believing in this film and letting me shoot in total liberty and (Cattleya producer) Riccardo Tozzi who took the voyage with me, and to thank the inhabitants of the islands Linosa and Lampedusa … they supported me and they helped me complete this journey - and I want to thank all the fishermen. I want to especially thank Marco Mueller. I was in Lampedusa yesterday and I didn’t expect to win with all these directors present. I feel very fortunate and privileged.”

Coppa Volpi for Best Actor went to - as widely expected on the Lido  - Michael Fassbender for his role in Steve McQueen’s Shame.

“We are very happy to give this award to a great actor who was extraordinary in a role (that took) courage and that moved us and excited us,” jury member Alba Rohrwacher said.

“Buonasera Venezia, grazie mille,” Fassbender said upon accepting his award. “It’s just really nice when you take a chance and its relevant and you hope its relevant and people respond as they did - thanks to Steve McQueen, he’s my hero. It’s a real privilege to be among other actors and Gary Oldman [of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy] stands out particularly in my mind - I’ve been following him since I was about 14 years old, I feel very humbled and very privileged.”

The Coppa Volpi for Best Actress went to Deanie Yip for her role in Hong Kong director Ann Hui’s film A Simple Life about Chinese domestic helpers that focuses on caring for the elderly.

“I want to thank the president and also the jury members and the audience and my director and producer,” she said, before thanking the audience in Italian.

The Osella for Best Cinematography went to DOP Robbie Ryan for Andrea Arnold’s naturalistic take on Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights.

Giving the award, jury member David Byrne noted the irony in giving a prize for a film for no music. “The landscape was another character in the film at least as good as the actors.”

Ryan thanked Arnold saying, “I hope she goes on to make many, many more great films.” Film4, which backed Shame and Wuthering Heights, was also celebrating. Tessa Ross, Controller of Film and Drama at C4, said: “It is absolutely wonderful to see Michael and Robbie’s talent recognised in this way - both have pushed their craft to the limits of excellence to produce work of truly outstanding quality.”

This year’s Osella for Best Screenplay went to the quirky and original narrative of the Greek film Alps writers Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthimis Filippou.

The jury motivated the choice as being a film with “the originality and boldness …opening new possibilities of script and expressive language of film.”

The Marcello Mastroianni Award for Best Young Actor or Actress was given to Shota Sometani and Fumi Kikaido, the young stars in Himizu from Japan’s Sono Sion.

 “I dedicate this to the future of young people everywhere,” the director said as he accepted the prize.

Another Italian immigration themed film was awarded tonight. Down There (Là-Bas), scooped up the Luigi de Laurentiis Lion of the future award for a first work. The film was inspired by a real life 2008 tragedy, the shooting of several illegal African immigrants in a clothing factory in the Neapolitan Camorra territory of Castel Volturno. Presented in the independent sidebar Critics’ Week is one of Rai Cinema’s 22 films presented in this year’s festival. The prize comes with a check for $100,000 to be divided equally between producer and director.

All of the films in this year’s 68th edition of the Venice Film Festival have been world premieres.

Noting the two British wins of films backed by the UK Film Council (now the British Film Institute), BFI Film Fund head Tanya Seghatchian said: “We are delighted for Michael Fassbender and Robbie Ryan with their success at this year’s Venice. Such awards at a world class level are an exciting testimony to the exceptional range of artistic talent in the UK, in front of and behind screen, and the alchemy of cinematic collaboration with visionary filmmakers. Michael’s mesmerising performance in Shame is brave and compelling and Robbie’s photography brings an intensity to the tragedy of Wuthering Heights. We are proud to have supported both films through the Film Fund.”


Venice Film Festival 2011 prizes

Golden Lion for Best Film
Faust by Aleksander Sokurov (Russia)

Silver Lion for Best Director
Shangjun Cai for People Mountain People Sea (China-Hong Kong)

Special Jury Prize
Terraferma - Emanuele Crialese (Italy)

Coppa Volpi for Best Actor
Michael Fassbender in Shame by Steve McQueen

Coppa Volpi for Best Actress
Deanie Yip in A Simple Life by Ann Hui (China - Hong Kong)

Marcello Mastroianni Award for Best Young Actor or Actress
Shota Sometani and Fumi Kikaido

Osella for Best Cinematography
Robbie Ryan for the film Wuthering Heights by Andrea Arnold (UK)

Osella for Best Screenplay
Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthimis Filippou for Alps by Yorgos Lanthimos (Greece)

 Orizzonti awards

Orizzonti award (full length films)
Kyoto by Shinya Tsukamoto (Japan)

Special Orizzonti Jury Prize (full length films)
Whores’ Glory by Michael Glawogger (Austria, Germany)

Orizzonti Award (short films)
In Attesa Dell’Avvento by Felice D’Agostino and Arturo Lavorato (Italy)

Orizzonti Award (Medium-length film)
Accidentes Gloriosos by Mauro Andrizzi and Mracus Lindeen (Sweden, Denmark, Argentina).

Special Mention
O Le Tulafale (The Orator) by Tusi Tamasese (New Zealand, Samoa)

Special Mention
All The Lines Flow Out - Charles Lim Yi Yong (Singapore)

TThe Venice Short film nominee for the European Film Awards
Hypercrisis by Josef Dabernig (Austria)

Controcampo Award for full length film
Scialla - Francesco Bruni

Controcampo Award for short film
A Chjana by Jonas Carpignano

Controcampo Doc Award
Pugni Chiusi by Fiorella Infascelli

Special mention
Black Block by Carlo Augusto Bachschmidt
Francesco Di Giacomo for cinematography in Pugni Chiusi

Shame by Steve McQueen (UK)

FIPRESCI Best Film, Orizzonti and International Critics’ Week
Two Years at Sea by Ben Rivers (UK)

Label Europa Cinemas Award
Guilty (Présumé Coupable) by Vincent Garenq

Golden Lion For Lifetime Achievement 2011
Marco Bellocchio

Jaegar-Lecoultre Glory To The Filmmaker
Al Pacino

Persol 3-D Award
Zapruder Filmmakersgroup (David Zamagni, Nadia Ranocchi, Monaldo Moretti)

L’Oreal Paris Per Il Cinema Award
Nicole Grimaudo