French abortion drama ‘Happening’ wins Golden Lion in Venice


In a strong evening for female directors and Netflix releases, the Venice Film Festival ended with a curve, as French director Audrey Diwan’s mighty abortion drama “Happening,” beat the big name competition at the Golden Lion for Best Picture. Diwan received the award from a jury chaired by Oscar-winning filmmaker Bong Joon-ho.

Last year’s Golden Lion champion Chloé Zhao, director of “Nomadland”, was also on the jury. Diwan is only the sixth woman to win the first prize of the festival; never before has the prize been awarded to female directors two years in a row. In the wake of the palme d’or of his compatriot Julia Ducournau in Cannes for “Titane”, Diwan’s triumph also indicates that a new and exciting generation of female authors is taking center stage.

Among the films that Diwan’s film beat in the fist were Netflix’s top three prospects in the competition, who all walked away with nice consolation prizes. Italian director Paolo Sorrentino’s semi-autobiographical coming-of-age drama “Hand of God” has twice won the Grand Jury Prize as well as the Marcello Mastroianni Award for Best Young Actor for its 21st birthday. – old Filippo Scotti.

Jane Campion, the favorite of many top prize-winners, took home the award for best director for her first feature in 12 years, the edgy western starring Benedict Cumberbatch “The Power of the Dog.” Less expected, actress-turned-director Maggie Gyllenhaal won the award for best screenplay for her first feature film “The Lost Daughter”, a clever adaptation of novelist Elena Ferrante’s dark meditation on motherhood.

The films of Campion, Sorrentino and Gyllenhaal were among the most prominent titles – with “Spencer” by Pablo Larrain and “The Card Counter” by Paul Schrader, both not awarded by the jury – which premiered at the early days of Venice, consuming all the oxygen of the festival between them. . Another darling of early critics, Pedro Almodóvar’s festival opening melodrama “Parallel Mothers” won the Best Actress award for Penélope Cruz’s bravery turn as a single mother embroiled in a maternity crisis in spiral.

Yet once the glitzy excitement over those tracks subsided, Diwan’s calmly devastating period piece wowed critics midway through the festival, shaping up as a potential dark horse to overthrow the big guys. cannons. (His victory was announced last night when the FIPRESCI Critics’ Jury also named him Best of Show.)

After a young student’s battle to obtain an abortion in France in the early 1960s, at a time when the taboo practice had serious legal consequences, Diwan’s film invites comparisons with landmark films on the subject such as ” Never rarely, sometimes always “by Eliza Hittman and Cristian” 4 months, 3 weeks and 2 days “by Mungiu. Still, its mix of provocative visual candor and delicate character study seems distinctive – and, despite its period setting, too topical in the wake of Texas’ controversial recent law change. This reviewer praised him for “mightily [essaying] the risks of denying women control over their bodies. An American distributor has not yet been confirmed.

Among the other winners, Filipino actor John Arcilla took home the best actor award for his role in director Erik Matti’s epic 3.5-hour crime saga “On the Job: The Missing 8”, while experimental filmmaker Italian Michelangelo Frammartino received the Special Jury Prize for his hybrid drama-documentary meditative “Il Buco”.

In the festival’s secondary Orizzonti competition, Lithuanian filmmaker Laurynas Bareisa’s drama “Pilgrims” won the top prize, while “Call My Agent” star Laure Calamy took home the award for best actress for social drama from race against time “Full Time. “

The complete list of winners:


Golden Lion for Best Film: “It’s happening”, Audrey Diwan

Grand Jury Prize: “The hand of God”, Paolo Sorrentino

Best Director: “The power of the dog”, Jane Campion

Best Actress: “Parallel mothers”, Penélope Cruz

Best actor: “At work: the missing 8”, John Arcilla

Best screenplay: “The Lost Girl”, Maggie Gyllenhaal

Special Jury Prize: “Il Buco”, Michelangelo Frammartino

Marcello Mastroianni Award for Best Young Actor: “The hand of God”, Filippo Scotti


Best film : “Pilgrims”, Laurynas Bareisa

Best Director: “Full time”, Eric Gravel

Special Jury Prize: “El Gran Movimiento”, Kiro Russo

Best Actress: “Full time”, Laure Calamy

Best actor: “White building”, Piseth Chhun

Best screenplay: “107 mothers”, Ivan Ostrocovský, Peter Kerekes

Best short film: “Los Huesos”, Cristóbal León, Joaquín Cociña


Best first feature film: “Imaculat”, Monica Stan, George Chiper-Lillemark


Grand Jury Prize for Best VR Work: “Goliath: playing with reality”, Barry Gene Murphy, May Abdalla

Best Virtual Reality Experience: “Blanca Li’s Bal de Paris”, Blanca Li

Best Virtual Reality Story:
“End of the night”, David Adler


Armani Beauty Public Prize: “The blind man who didn’t want to see the Titanic”, Teemu Nikki

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