This year, in its 79th edition, the Venice Film Festival awarded the Golden Lion for best film – its most prestigious prize – to the movie All the Beauty and the Bloodshed, directed by Laura Poitras.
La Biennale di Venezia is the promoter of the Venice International Film Festival, which took place in Italy at Venice Lido from 31 August to 10 September 2022. Directed by Alberto Barbera, the Festival is recognized by the FIAPF (International Federation of Film Producers Association).
The Festival’s main goal is to support international cinema “in all its forms as art, entertainment and as an industry, in a spirit of freedom and dialogue.” Alongside this, the Festival promotes the revival of the movies that wrote the history of cinema. This is why the Biennale awards prize the best-restored movies and documentaries on cinema.
On 10 September 2022, the Venice Film Festival revealed its Official Awards’ winners. After watching all 23 films in competition, the five international Juries announced the winners in the various categories during the Awards Ceremony.
All the Beauty and the Bloodshed
The American Academy Award-winning filmmaker Laura Poitras, already known for her film about Edward Snowden, Citizenfour, triumphed with the documentary All the Beauty and the Bloodshed.
“All the Beauty and the Bloodshed” is an epic, emotional, and interconnected story about the internationally renowned artist and activist Nan Goldin. The story is told through her slideshows, intimate interviews, ground-breaking photography, and rare footage of her fight to hold the Sackler family accountable for the opioid crisis,” we read on La Biennale’s website.
Indeed, the film celebrates some of the key moments of Nan Goldin’s life. In particular, her commitment to destigmatizing addiction and promoting harm reduction. She could do that through PAIN, the group she founded intending to stop museums from accepting money from the Sackler family, believed responsible for triggering the opioid epidemic. “I began working on this film with Nan in 2019”, says the director Laura Poitras. “I was first drawn to the present-day horror story of a billionaire family knowingly creating an epidemic and then funneling money into museums in exchange for tax write-offs and naming galleries. But as we talked – she goes on – I realized this was only one part of the story I wanted to tell.” Indeed, the documentary gives a lot of space also to Goldin’s fundamental photographic artworks, such as “The Ballad of Sexual Dependency,” “Witness: Against Our Vanishing,” and “The Other Side,” as Poitras holds
The Other Awards
In second place, the movie Saint Omer was awarded the Silver Lion. “Inspired by a true story but fuelled by an imagination that summoned mythological figures, I wrote this film. It is the story of a young novelist who attends the trial of an infanticidal mother to write a contemporary version of the Medea myth,” claims the French director Alice Diop, who built a story about the “unspeakable mystery of mothers.” The movie was also rewarded with the Venice Prize for a Debut Film.
The award for the best director was given to the Italian Luca Guadagnino for his film Bones and All. “There is something about the disenfranchised, people living on the margins of society that I am drawn towards and touched by,” holds the director. Taylor Russell, starring in the “emotional journey” of the movie, was awarded the Marcello Mastroianni Award as Best Young Actress.
As for the other award-winning actors, Cate Blanchett obtained the Coppa Volpi as Best Actress for her role in the film TÁR by Todd Field. At the same time, Colin Farrell received the Coppa Volpi as Best Actor in the film The Banshees of Inisherin directed by Martin McDonagh. In addition, the same director McDonagh was awarded the prize for Best Screenplay.
Further, the movie Khers Nist (No Bears) by the Iranian director Jafar Panahi won the Special Jury Prize. The film portrays “two parallel love stories. In both, the lovers are troubled by hidden, inevitable obstacles, the force of superstition, and the mechanics of power”.
Moreover, the Orizzonti Awards for the Best Film went to Jang-e Jahani Sevom (World War III) by the Iranian Houman Seyedi. The director’s words about the movie were quite inspiring. “Hannah Arendt once said that in dictatorships, everything goes well up until 15 minutes before total collapse”, he maintains. “I’ve always wondered for how much longer there can be tyranny and oppression in the world and who the people are who will be crushed by the powerful rulers of such plagued societies.”
Finally, for the category Venice Classics, the movie Fragments of Paradise by KD Davison won the Award for Best Documentary on Cinema. In contrast, the Award for Best Restored Film to Koroshi no Rakuin by Suzuki Seijun (Japan, 1967).
Edited by: Ayona Mitra
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