All The Beauty And The Bloodshed, Laura Poitras’s documentary about photographer Nan Goldin and her activism against the Sackler family, has been awarded the Golden Lion for best film at the 79th Venice International Film Festival.
Poitras thanked the festival for recognising that “documentary is cinema” at the ceremony Saturday evening in Venice.
Runner up went to Alice Diop’s Saint Omer.
Cate Blanchett and Colin Farrell won the top acting prizes.
Blanchett won for her performance as a renowned conductor in Todd Field’s Tar and Farrell for playing a man who is broken up with by his long-time friend in Martin McDonagh’s The Banshees Of Inisherin.
“I’m shocked to get this and thrilled,” Farrell said in a live video message broadcast at the festival Saturday night.
McDonagh was on site to collect the prize before he got one of his own for screenplay.
Luca Guadagnino won the Silver Lion award for best director for the cannibal romance Bones And All starring Timothee Chalamet and Taylor Russell, who also was recognised for her performance for best young actress.
“I have a speech prepared because I’m nervous,” Russell said. “I’m grateful beyond belief to be standing here. So many of my heroes are in this room.
Russell thanked Guadagnino.
“He’s been a great friend to me and I love him so dearly,” Russell said.
The jury also gave a special jury prize to No Bears, by imprisoned Iranian director Jafar Panahi.
The acclaimed director was in July ordered by Iran to serve six-year prison sentence from a decade ago that had never been enforced.
The order came as the government seeks to silence criticism amid growing economic turmoil and political pressure.
The jury, led by Julianne Moore, is selecting the winners from 23 films in competition that included many Oscar hopefuls. The Oscar-winner presided over a jury that included French director Audrey Diwan, whose film Happening won the Golden Lion last year, author Kazuo Ishiguro and Iranian actor Leila Hatami.
Also on the main jury were Italian director Leonardo Di Costanzo Argentinian filmmaker Mariano Cohn and Rodrigo Sorogoyen.
Premiering in competition at Venice has launched many successful Oscar campaigns in recent years, leading to nominations and even wins.
Seven times in the last nine years the best director Oscar has gone to a film that world premiered at the festival, including Chloe Zhao, Alfonso Cuaron, Alejandro G Inarritu, twice, Guillermo del Toro and Damien Chazelle.
It has also debuted a handful future best picture winners like Nomadland, The Shape Of Water and Birdman.