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Venice is a "Joker"

by Nathaniel R

Tod & Joaquin celebrated for JOKER

Film festivals are like cocoons in there way and sometimes news happening outside of that bubble takes a moment to pierce through. This was not true about the Venice awards (though our delayed share suggests it was so) which seemed tailor-made as a provocation. The Golden Lion went to the Batman spinoff by way of Scorsese 70s, Joker and if that weren't controversial enough Roman Polanski was the runner up...

Director Lucrecia Martel (Argentina) chaired this year's jury which also featured the actress Stacy Martin (France), the director Mary Harron (US), Piers Handling (CEO of TIFF), cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto (Mexico), actor/director Shinya Tsukamoto (Japan), and writer/director Paolo Virzì (Italy).

Ariana Ascaride takes Best Actress for "GLORIA MUNDI"

Golden Lion (Best Film): JOKER by Todd Phillips (USA)
Silver Lion (Grand Jury Prize): AN OFFICER AND A SPY by Roman Polanski (France, Italy)
Silver Lion (Best Director): Roy Andersson for ABOUT ENDLESSNESS (Sweden, Germany, Norway)
Volpi Cup Best Actress: Ariane Ascaride in the film GLORIA MUNDI (France, Italy)
Volpi Cup Best Actor: Luca Marinelli in the film MARTIN EDEN(Italy, France)
Best Screenplay: Yonfan for the film No.7 CHERRY LANE (Hong Kong SAR, China)
Special Jury Prize: LA MAFIA NON È PIÙ QUELLA DI UNA VOLTA by Franco Maresco (Italy)
Marcello Mastroianni Award (Best Young Actor or Actress): Toby Wallace in the film BABYTEETH

Similar to Cannes Un Certain Regard competition, this is the secondary competition though these things are so political at all festivals that that doesn't necessarily mean the quality is lesser than. The jury consisted of Susanna Nicchiarelli and composed of Eva Sangiorgi, Álvaro Brechner, Mark Adams, and Rachid Bouchareb.

Valentin Vasyanovych accepting his prize for "ATLANTIS"

Best Film: ATLANTIS by Valentyn Vasyanovych (Ukraine)
Best Director: Théo Court for the film BLANCO EN BLANCO (Spain, Chile, France, Germany)
Special Jury Prize: VERDICT by Raymund Ribay Gutierrez (The Philippines)
Best Actress: Marta Nieto in the film MADRE (Spain, France)
This is an expansion of the Oscar-nominated short of the same name
Best Actor: Sami Bouajila in the film BIK ENEICH – UN FILS (Tunisia, France, Lebanon, Qatar)
Best Screenplay: Jessica Palud, Philippe Lioret, and Diastème for the film REVENIR (France)
Best Short Film: DARLING by Saim Sadiq (Pakistan, USA)
Venice Short Film Nomination for the EFA Awards: DOGS BARKING AT BIRDS by Leonor Teles (Portugal)

This jury is made up of  22 cinema history students from Italian universities, DAMS performing arts courses, and Ca’ Foscari University of Venice:

Ecstacy (Hedy Lamarr's breakout sensation) was recently restored

Best Documentary on Cinema: BABENCO – TELL ME WHEN I DIE by Bárbara Paz (Brazil)
Best Restored Film: ECSTASY by Gustav Machatý (Czechoslovakia, 1932)

The jury tasked with choosing the best debut film (similar to Cannes Camera d'Or) featured Emir Kusturica , Antonietta De Lillo, Hend Sabry, Terence Nance and Michael Werne.

"You Will Die at Twenty " comes from a debuting Sudanese director Amjad Abu Alala

Lion of the Future: YOU WILL DIE AT 20 by Amjad Abu Alala (Sudan, France, Egypt, Germany, Norway, Qatar)

The VR Jury featured Laurie Anderson, Alysha Naples and Francesco Carrozzini. They viewed 27 projects

Best VR Work: THE KEY by Céline Tricart (USA)
Best VR Interactive Content:  A LINHA by Ricardo Laganaro (Brazil)
Best VR Story/Linear Content: DAUGHTERS OF CHIBOK by Joel Kachi Benson (Nigeria)



As with other massive festivals there are a whole slew of prizes awarded that aren't "official" to the festival but given out by various other associations. There's a lot to try to make sense of with little context but a few things stand out.

Martin Eden

-  Martin Eden, the Italian film (which is also playing at TIFF) is a popular title so we wonder if it'll be the Italian submission this year. In addition to prizes for the film itself one more craft specific organization gave it prizes for "stage combat" and "costume design"

- The new Polanski true story drama An Officer and a Spy (also known as "J'Accuse") which stars Louis Garrel as the wrongly conviced French captain Alfred Dreyfus (the role which won Joseph Schildkraut the Oscar in 1937's Best Picture winner The Life of Emile Zola),  wasn't just popular with the main competition jury at Venice. Critics groups also really responded to it with honors.

Valeria Golino at one of her three premieres

- Valeria Golino is having a good year. She had a brief in-demand moment in Hollywood in the late 1980s / early 90s of course (Rain Man, Big Top Pee Wee, etcetera) but since then she's mostly acted in Italian films and turned to directing as well. But not only does she appear in a key role in the French festival sensation Portrait of a Lady on Fire this year but she also took a collective Best Actress Prize for her performances in three new Italian films at Venice this year including the new film by Costa-Gavras, Adults in the Room

- Corpus Christi, which we'd heard some buzz about particularly in association with its young leading actor, continues to win various kudos while another film we hadn't heard of prior to Venice called All This Victory by Ahmad Gossein was also popular with critics.


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Reader Comments (24)

Absolutely WTH choices all over the board.

September 8, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterKl

I am tired.

September 8, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

Ooh, now I’m very excited about Martin Eden. I’ll be watching it at TIFF in a few days.

September 8, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterBrad

Very Well done! See you at the Oscars, DC! Best Picture, Director, Actor, Screenplay - original, adapted ? - cinematography, make up, to begin with.

September 8, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterSe_bas_tian


September 8, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterFaye

I love how everyone has an opinion about Joker and almost nobody has seen it. I hope this is not a new trend.

September 8, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterWimsey

If the woke keyboard warriors are going to eviscerate a perfectly serviceable movie this year (in the style of Three Billboards and Green Book), at least it's a comic book movie! Little victories.

September 8, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAnonny

Get used to it Nat.

September 8, 2019 | Unregistered Commentermarkgordonuk

Wow, I guess we really do live in a society!

September 8, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterRobert Hamer

I am sure that many of the opinions here and in the Joker trailer article have not even seen the movie. They still have an idea about the movie and they won't change even after watching the movie.
What I am sure is that Joaquin Phoenix is on his way to the Oscar.

September 8, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterharmodio

I'm now more excited to see Joker and let's hope Joaquin Phoenix gets his Oscar.

September 8, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterthevoid99

lol, I love it when foreign liberals tell us what they think of our crazy, Puritanical, smelling salts orthodoxies. We are the new Victorians.

September 8, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJF

In amidst all the hooplah about JOKER, I am so pleased that the director of two of the most bizarre, beautiful, brilliant films of the past 15 years, YOU, THE LIVING and A PIGEON SAT ON A BRANCH REFLECTING ON EXISTENCE, won Best Director. So glad he's got major recognition.

September 8, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterTravis C

I can’t believe Roman Polanski still gets to make films, let alone win prizes for them.

September 8, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterChoog

I wonder what Joaquin’s odds are for a Best Actor nom at the Oscar’s

September 8, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterkris01

and the Queer Lion?

Super bored with the whole Joker Experience and I'm a Joaquín fan.

Sorry but the Polanski movie looks great. You should all read Samantha Geimer's tweet. What a remarkable woman.

September 8, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

Wimsey, don't worry, it's definitely not a new trend.

It's a very very old one that happens every year around this time.

September 9, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterkin

I will be mildly-surprised if Phoenix is nominated given the competition, and shocked as hell if he actually wins. The Academy may be itching to reward Phoenix but not for a genre film. Ledger's win is still very much the exception not the rule.

September 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterSawyer

in their* way

September 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterGrammar National Socialist

@PeggySue. Queer Lion this year awarded the chilean movie El Príncipe, by first time director Sebastián Muñoz.
As for the verdict, all I can say is: go see Joker and J'accuse (I did), before finding the verdict so weird and outrageous.
Just for the record, the daily newspaper given out during the festival, shows a grid with the votes from 9 italian and 10 international movie critics.. And even in that case, Joker and J'accuse (just in reversed positions) ended up as the two top choices..

September 9, 2019 | Unregistered Commentermarco70go

Get that Oscar, Joaquin! It's time.

September 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterReynolds

Hmmm... No luv for Marriage Story??

It did hold 100% freshness on Rotten Tomatoes, w superlative praises for all involved....

September 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterClaran

Mary Harron is Canadian. Almost every one of her films are made in Canada with Canadian gov' assistance. Recently she did Alias Grace with Sarah Polley (A CBC production of a Margaret Atwood novel). She was born: January 12, 1953 in Bracebridge, Ontario, Canada

September 12, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterIshmael

Mary Harron is Canadian. Almost every one of her films are made in Canada with Canadian gov' assistance. Recently she did Alias Grace with Sarah Polley (A CBC production of a Margaret Atwood novel). She was born: January 12, 1953 in Bracebridge, Ontario, Canada

Which, come to think of it, makes it odd that not a single judge was an American, and yet Joker won. Strange, indeed.

September 12, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterIshmael

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