VENICE: Russian film Faust, loosely based on Goethe’s classic German text, won the Golden Lion for best picture at the Venice film festival on Saturday.
The movie, directed by the revered Alexander Sokurov, divided critics at the annual cinema showcase, but had been among the favourites to scoop the coveted top prize.
“The emotion is huge,” 60-year-old Sokurov told the prize ceremony on the Lido waterfront, where stars walked the red carpet, promoted their movies and partied into the early hours for the last 11 days.
Faust, the fourth and final instalment in Sokurov’s series about corrupting power, won praise for conjuring a 19th century world of squalour, stench and chaos in which Faust and a mad-cap Mephistopheles play out their destinies.
The big surprise on the night was that Roman Polanski’s popular comedy of manners Carnage went away empty-handed.
The adaptation of a play set in real time in a single apartment featured Kate Winslet, Jodie Foster, Christoph Waltz and John C Reilly as two New York couples who meet when their children get into a fight.
Winslet’s projectile vomit scene was one of the highlights of the Venice festival this year, where 23 movies contested awards and the likes of Madonna, Winslet, Gwyneth Paltrow, Matt Damon, Al Pacino and George Clooney graced the red carpet.
There were no upsets in the best actor category, however, which went to Irishman Michael Fassbender for his acclaimed portrayal of a sex-obsessed young professional in Shame.
Best actress went to China’s Deanie Ip for her protrayal of an aging maid in Ann Hui’s Tao Jie.
The best director Silver Lion went to Chinese film maker Shangjun Cai for People Mountain People Sea.
Italian immigration movie Terraferma, directed by Emanuele Crialese, picked up the special jury award.
Outside the main competition, singer Madonna presented her second feature film as director, W.E., about a modern-day woman who becomes obsessed with Wallis Simpson and her love for King Edward VIII. (Reuters)