The winners were selected by a jury led by director Damien Chazelle (La La Land) and also included Jane Campion and Laura Poitras, who won last year with Big Pharma documentary ‘All the Beauty and the Bloodshed’.
The runner-up Silver Lion went to Japan’s Ryusuke Hamaguchi for ‘Evil Does Not Exist’, a quiet and eerie eco-fable based on his Oscar-winning ‘Drive My Car’. Venice audiences were impressed by two brutal immigrant plays and both went home with awards.
‘Io Capitano’, the epic tale of Senegalese teenagers crossing Africa to reach Europe, won best director for Italy’s Matteo Garrone (Gomorrah) and best newcomer for its star Sedou Sarr in his feature film debut.
‘Green Border’, the harrowing story of refugees trapped between Belarus and Poland, won the third Special Jury Prize.
Its Polish director Agnieszka Holland accepted the award, saying, “While we sit here tonight, the situation is still ongoing.”
“People are still hidden in the forests, deprived of their dignity, of their human rights… Some of them will lose their lives here in Europe, not because we do not have the resources to help, but because we Don’t want to do that.”
One of the stranger entries, ‘El Conde’, which re-imagined former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet as a vampire, won best screenplay for writer-director Pablo Larraín.