Jurors: Wim Wenders (president), Yuri Arabov, Valeria Golino, Douglas Gordon, John Landis, Lucrecia Martel, Johnnie To|
|Golden Lion:||The Wrestler, USA, dir. Darren Aronofsky|
|Special Jury Prize:||Teza, Ethiopia, dir. Haile Gerima|
|Best Director:||Paper Soldier, Russia, dir. Aleksei German|
|Best Actress:||The Other, Dominique Blanc|
|Best Actor:||Giovanni's Father, Silvia Orlando|
|Marcello Mastroianni Award:||The Burning Plain, Jennifer Lawrence|
|Best Screenplay:||Teza, Haile Gerima|
|Technical Contribution:||Paper Soldier, Alisher Khamidkhodjaev & Maksim Drozdov (cinematography)|
|FIPRESCI Prize:||Gabbla (Inland), Algeria/France, dir. Tariq Teguia|
|SIGNIS Award:||The Hurt Locker, USA, dir. Kathryn Bigelow|
|Venice Horizons Award:||Melancholia, Philippines, dir. Laz Diaz|
|Future Film Festival Digital Award:||Ponyo, Japan, dir. Hayao Miyazaki|
Competition Films I Have Seen:
Ranked in order of preference
My Golden Lion:
The Hurt Locker (USA, dir. Kathryn Bigelow) -
Combines ethical disquiet with bracing adrenaline, embodied by two expertly played leads. Marvel of technique and of risky, vivid realism.
The Wrestler (USA, dir. Darren Aronofsky) -
Clearly mimicking Dardennes but punched up with gutsy power of its own. Rourke a miracle. Grace notes throughout. Finale soars on emotion.
Rachel Getting Married (USA, dir. Jonathan Demme) -
Demme at last feels unhaunted by 90s fling with big budgets. Blends friskiness of 80s work with Mike Leigh's incisive scabbiness.
Ponyo (Japan, dir. Hayao Miyazaki) -
Hurrah for the art of hand-drawn animation but Ponyo's lines and palettes are off-puttingly weak. Story less dreamlike than muddled.
Jerichow (Germany, dir. Christian Petzold) -
Postman rings for umpteenth time. Despite glimmers of German-Turkish racial critique, this replay lacks urgency and weakens as it goes.
The Burning Plain (USA/Mexico, dir. Guillermo Arriaga) -
After major stride of Melquiades Estrada, Arriaga indulges worst tendencies of vague storytelling, overplotting.
Sidebar Films I Have Seen:
Ranked in order of preference
Burn After Reading (USA, dirs. Joel and Ethan Coen) -
Coens cut loose, spilling black blood everywhere while earning lots of laughs. Precision-cut. Gems across cast.
35 Shots of Rum (France, dir. Claire Denis) -
Fair to say Denis' tribute to Ozu might be too sedate, even for him? Still very moving. Last shot really seals it.
Goodbye Solo (USA, dir. Ramin Bahrani) -
Thought I'd seen all the cross-racial odd-couple dramedies I could stand but this one is savory and beautifully acted.
Valentino: The Last Emperor (USA, dir. Matt Tyrnauer) -
Limited, but proffers a vivid impression of the man and his monomaniacal focus on glamor at all costs.
Un lac (France, dir. Philippe Grandrieux) -
C'mon. Latest naked emperor of the Walter Reade crowd confuses exaggerated sound and dire underlighting with formal bravura.
Competition Films I'm Curious to See:
Ranked in order of interest; more on this year's lineup here (opens in a new window)
Teza, Ethiopia, dir. Haile Gerima
Süt (Milk), Turkey, dir. Semih Kaplanoglu
Gabbla (Inland), Algeria/France, dir. Tarik Teguia
This Night, Portugal/Germany, dir. Werner Schroeter
Paper Soldier, Russia, dir. Aleksey German
The Other, France, dir. Patrick-Mario Bernard & Pierre Trividic
Inju: The Beast in the Shadow, France/Japan, dir. Barbet Schroeder
The Sky Crawlers, Japan, dir. Mamoru Oshii
A Perfect Day, Italy, dir. Ferzan Ozpetek
Achilles and the Tortoise, Japan, dir. Takeshi Kitano
Sidebar Films I'm Curious to See:
The Beaches of Agnès, France, dir. Agnès Varda
Below Sea Level, Italy, dir. Gianfranco Rosi
In Paraguay, USA, dir. Ross McElwee
Melancholia, Philippines, dir. Lav Diaz
Mid-August Lunch, Italy, dir. Gianna Di Gregorio
Parc, France, dir. Arnaud Des Pallières
Shirin, Iran, dir. Abbas Kiarostami
Vinyan, France, dir. Fabrice Du Welz