Making history, female directors win top prizes at Venice and Cannes festivals


A young woman risks going to prison for having requested an abortion in the 1960s in France. Audrey Diwan’s hard-hitting drama film The event on illegal abortion is the second French film to win a major festival this year since Julia Ducournau received the Palme d’Or at Cannes for Titanium in July.

He was chosen from 21 candidates by a jury headed by Parasite director Bong Joon-ho. The jury also included Chinese-born director and Oscar winner Chloe Zhao, who won the Golden Lion in 2020 with Nomadic country.

After declining last year due to COVID-19, the glamor of the festival was back in 2021, but with the necessary pandemic precautions including mandatory masks, vaccine passes and maximum capacity 50% in cinemas.

Italian filmmaker Paolo Sorrentino wields the Silver Lion. Photo: Reuters / Yara Nard

Italian filmmaker Paolo Sorrentino received the Silver Lion for God’s hand.

Hollywood stars and the crème de la crème of the international film scene walked the red carpet in Venice. Among the highlights was undoubtedly the appearance of Ben Affleck with his ex-girlfriend Jennifer Lopez by his side, much to the delight of many gossip magazines.

The Golden Lion and the directors

Audrey Diwan is the sixth woman to receive the prestigious Golden Lion Award. Previous winners include Chloe Zhao with Nomadic country, Margarethe von Trotta with Marianne & Julienne, Agnès Varda with Vagabond, Mira Nair with Monsoon Marriage and Sofia Coppola with Somewhere.

The award for best actress went to the queen of Spanish cinema, Penelope Cruz, for her role in the comedy Parallel Mothers – his last collaboration with his compatriot Pedro Almodovar. She thanked the legendary Spanish director for “inspiring me every day with your search for the truth”.

Italian filmmaker Michelangelo Frammartino received a special jury prize for He buco – a dramatic film about a group of cavers discovering a deep cave in a remote part of southern Italy in 1961. American director Maggie Gyllenhaal won the award for best screenplay for her psychological drama The lost girl.

The biopic on Princess Diana Spencer, starring American actress Kristen Stewart as the British Queen, did not receive any awards despite critical praise ahead of the festival.

Serious topics set the tone

This year’s festival was notably dominated by darker films. The Italian fantasy drama Panic had German actor Franz Rogowski as an eccentric Nazi in a circus.

American actor Oscar Isaac starred in The card counter, a film about a man who participated in the torture and abuse of prisoners in Abu Ghraib. And Jane Campion’s Western The Power of the Dog – with Benedict Cumberbatch and Kirsten Dunst – focuses on two conflicting brothers on a Montana ranch in the 1920s and deals with toxic masculinity, repressed homosexuality, jealousy. and addiction. Campion won the award for best director.

In recent years, success in Venice has become a key launching pad for the Oscars. The last four winners – Nomadland, Joker, Rome, and The shape of water – all received an Academy Award.

This article first appeared on DW.


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