"I am 52 and my weight is 136 kilos." With a pinch of self-irony, Guillermo Del Toro
accepts the Golden Lion of the 74. Venice Film Festival. The Mexican director triumphs with his The Shape of Water
, an instant favourite of this year's high-level competition. A genre film, an unusual love story, a visually rich film that has reconciled both critics and the audience. "This award is dedicated to every single Mexican filmmaker" was the comment of a director who revitalized the fantasy genre and blended the horror with deep emotions and a strong romantic vein. Del Toro encouraged young Mexican director to follow their own paths, whatever it is: "I believe in monsters, and also in life, and in love and cinema too."
Best Film in the Orizzonti section is Nico 1988
by Italian filmmaker Susanna Nicchiarelli
, produced by Gregorio Paonessa and Marta Donzelli, with the support of Rai Cinema and MiBACT. The film features a great performance by actress Trine Dyrholm
. Nicchiarelli stated: "It's a complicated film, both an Italian and an international work, and a film about music." Last year too, an Italian film (Libera nos
by Federica Di Giacomo) won the top prize of Orizzonti, a section dedicated to innovative cinema.
The Grand Jury Prize went to Israeli film Foxtrot
by Samuel Maoz
, who already got the Golden Lion in 2009 with his Lebanon
. The director reminded us that foxtrot is a kind of dance that finishes in the same spot where it started: it was the same for him in Venice. The most touching moment of the evening was the Silver Lion - Best Director Prize that went to Xavier Legrand
, a tense thriller about domestic violence. Legrand, who also got the Lion of the Future - Luigi De Laurentiis Award for a Debut Film, burst into tears: "Many people asked me why I chose such a painful topic for my first film. I chose it because I couldn't wait the second feature. Talking about violence against women is too urgent a subject. I hope women will have a better future." A former actor, Legrand developed this film starting from his previous short Avant que de tout perdre
A big and warm applause, and a standing ovation from the jury, welcomed Charlotte Rampling
on stage. The actress won the Volpi Cup for her brave perfomance in Andrea Pallaoro
. Rampling commented: "Italy is my fundamental source of inspiration. I started at 22 with Gianfranco Mingozzi, and then I worked with masters such as Visconti, Liliana Cavani, Patroni Griffi, Adriano Celentano, Gianni Amelio. Now I've just made this film with Andrea Pallaoro, who belongs to a brand new generation." It should be highlighted that both the awarded Italian films (Hannah
and Nico 1988
) are international coproductions.
Volpi Cup for Best Actor went to Palestinian Kamel El Bash
for Ziad Doueiri
's The Insult
. Theatre actor for the first time on the big screen, El Basha thanked the Palestinian audience that supported him throughout his 30-year-long career.
Best Screenplay - but it was a frontrunner for the Golden Lion as well - to Martin McDonagh
's Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri:
"I had so much fun in these past few days. I drank so many Negronis with my actors Frances McDormad and Sam Rockwell."
Special Jury Prize to Sweet Country by Australian director Warwick Thornton
, a dark Aboriginal western denouncing the slavery in Australia at the beginning of the twentieth century. The Marcello Mastroianni Award went to 18-year-old actor Charlie Plummer
for his performance in Lean on Pete
. Despite his young age, Plummer is already very much on demand - we'll see him soon in the upcoming Ridley Scott movie on the kidnapping of Paul Getty.
This edition of the Venice Film Festival has been of a particularly high level, and the jury headed by Annette Bening has awarded almost all of the best films in competition. Exception includes Paolo Virzì's Ella & John
(at least for the performances of Donald Sutherland and Helen Mirren), Paul Schrader's First Reformed,
and Frederick Wiseman's extraordinary documentary Ex Libris