Director Samuel Maoz’s hard-hitting Israeli war movie Lebanon won the Golden Lion for best picture at the Venice film festival today. The film went inside a tank to focus on a young Israeli conscript during the 1982 war. “I dedicate this award to the thousands of people all over the world who, like me, come back from war safe and sound,” the director told the audience at the 11-day cinema showcase. Another frontrunner, American director Todd Solondz’s dark comedy Life During Wartime picked up best screenplay.
Two prominent American pictures were shut out of the festival’s official jury awards — Michael Moore’s attack on corporate greed, Capitalism: A Love Story, and The Weinstein Company’s The Road, which John Hillcoat adapted from Cormac McCarthy’s post-apocalyptic novel. This will no doubt affect Harvey Weinstein’ release plans for it. Moore’s pic did receive the Leoncino d’oro Award from 26 local youths selected by the festival, but nothing from the official jury — even though he personally came to Venice to premiere his documentary (see trailer here). So did Oliver Stone, whose South Of The Border debuted out of competition. The screening of this indictment of U.S. media’s villification of Huge Chavez (trailer here) prompted the Venezuelan president to walk the red carpet alongside Stone.
Iranian video artist Shirin Neshat won the Silver Lion for best director for Women Without Men, set during Iran’s foreign-backed coup in 1953. British actor Colin Firth won best actor for fashion designer Tom Ford’s debut picture A Single Man based on a novel by Christopher Isherwood. Russian Ksenia Rappoport picked up the best actress award for her part in Giuseppe Capotondi’s Italian competition entry La Doppia Ora. German director Fatih Akin took the special jury prize for the comedy Soul Kitchen.
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