It ended as everyone expected: the big favorite won Poor creatures! Of Yorgos Lanthimoshis feminist fairy tale with a comedy twist won, he won the most surprising film of the Venice Film Festival, year 2023. And even if he didn’t win Emma Stone (unfairly, but inevitably: that’s what the rules say, even if other choices could have been made to reward her) the Volpi Cup for best actress, the Golden Lion for the best film of the Venezia 80 competition it is also his. In the meantime, we celebrate ours with patriotic pride Matteo Garronewho scored an important double victory for Italy with his I captain and the story of the odyssey of two Senegalese migrants, a necessary and important film for the country: Silver Lion for directing And Mastroianni award to the young protagonist Seydou Sarr. He is the only Italian awarded in the main competition Venezia 80. Ryūsuke Hamaguchithe Oscar-winning director with Drive My Carreceives the «second prize», the Grand Jury Prize with Evil Does Not Exist. The Volpi cups for best actors are for Peter Sarsgaardprotagonist of Memory by Michel Franco and for Caileey Spaeny which embodies a young Priscilla Presley in Priscilla by Sofia Coppola.
Poor creatures!, based on the novel by Alasdair Gray and in Italian cinemas from 12 October, is the fantastic story of a young woman, Bella Baxter, who is brought back to life by a mad scientist (Willem Dafoe) of Frankensteinian memory, who implants the brain of a newborn. The “poor creature” played by the proud woman Emma Stone she will therefore face life with all the innocence of a child but in a woman’s body: the discovery of the world will coincide with the awareness and unmasking of all useless social conventions and prevailing chauvinism. Between steampunk atmospheres and irresistible jokes, in a “festival” film that makes you laugh a lot, Bella’s evolution passes above all through sex and liberation from the series of men who, along her journey, will try to cage the protagonist.
It will be said that the awards to Italy are too few and it is true: they receive nothing for the patriotic history of Commander by Edoardo De Angelis starring Favinothe disturbing events in the world of 1950s cinema told by Saverio Costanzo in Finally dawnthe Rome increasingly Suburra of Stefano Sollima represented in Slowlynor that of Pietro Castellitto’s “broken inside” characters in Aeneas, the film that made everyone argue (and luckily films still move spirits). But the main merit of this year’s edition of the Festival, due to the scarcity of stars on the red carpet (on strike against platforms and studios), lies in the fact that there was much more talk about films: less glamor and more contents. And for once the critics’ predictions are confirmed by the final list of awards. A sign that cinephilia lives and fights together with us and perhaps can also meet wider audiences, as – hopefully – in the case of Poor creatures!.
It was an edition in which there was a lot of talk about migrants: with Garrone’s film and the black and white one by Agnieszka Hollandamong the great favorites to win the Golden Lion, which instead takes home the Special Jury Prize with its story of migrants on the border between Belarus and Poland told in Green Border. Two different ways of talking about migration, two political speeches on stage, two moments in which during the awards ceremony reality bursts into the Great Hall of the Lido cinema palace. Agnieszka Holland says: «Since 2014 when the refugee crisis broke out, around 60 thousand people have died trying to reach Europe. And the situation continues, people are hiding in the forests and are deprived of human rights, of their security. Some will survive, some will not, but not because we don’t have the resources: because we don’t want them. I want to dedicate this award to the activists and the people they are helping.”
Matteo Garronethat with I captain stages the odyssey of two young migrants, between torture and the mortal dangers of the desert and the sea in a film that they should screen in Parliament, explains that he wanted to “give a voice to those who usually don’t have one”. And he then passes the microphone to Mamadou, the migrant on whose story Garrone’s screenplay is based. It is he, the unknown of the Festival, who delivers the most political speech of the evening: «I managed to get to Italy but I would like to dedicate this award to all the people who did not manage to get to Lampedusa. And I would like to remind you that when there is the desire and need to leave, no one can stop you. And therefore I would like there to be the right to have a visa to travel. This is the tool to stop human trafficking.” Shortly before, another boy who dreamed of the West and arrived in Italy received the Mastroianni award for best emerging actor: Seydou Sarr. Through tears, he can only say: «I’m happy. There are no words”.
The best actress, Coppa Volpi award, is Caileey Spaenythe young protagonist of Priscilla by Sofia Coppola, who dedicates her victory to the truth Priscilla Presleywhile the best actor is Peter Sarsgaard, who in his acceptance speech mixes romantic dedications (“I love you” to his wife Maggie Gyllenhaal) with committed reflections on the Hollywood strike and the risks of using artificial intelligence in cinema: “An actor is a human being and gives a human experience, if we lose this battle, our industry will be the first to fall. And it will open the way to atrocities.”
Outside the main competition, there is another Italian who is awarded: Micaela Ramazzotti for his directorial debut Happiness, who cries while accepting the Armani Beauty award given by the public for Orizzonti Extra. She says: «I put my soul into reaching your heart, the public: I dedicate this award to those who are experiencing a difficult moment, unhappiness. Unhappiness can last a long time but we have to fight for happiness for a long time, which is what we need.”
Here are all the prizes:
Golden Lion for Best Film
Poor creatures! (Poor Things) by Yorgos Lanthimos.
Grand Jury Prize
Evil Does Not Exist by Ryūsuke Hamaguchi
Silver Lion for Best Director
Matteo Garrone for I captain
Special Jury Prize
Green Border by Agnieszka Holland
Guillermo Calderón and Pablo Larraín for El Conde
Volpi Cup for best female performance
Caileey Spaeny for Priscilla
Volpi Cup for best male performance
Peter Sarsgaard for Memory by Michel Franco
Marcello Mastroianni Award (emerging actor)
Seydou Sarr for I captain
Best film in the Orizzonti section
Explanation for Everything by Gábor Reisz
Best director Orizzonti
Mika Gustafson for Paradiset brinner
Special prize from the Orizzonti jury
An endless Sunday by Alain Parroni
Best screenplay of the Orizzonti section
Enrico Maria Artale for El Paraiso
Best short film Orizzonti
A Short Trip by Erenik Beqiri
Luigi De Laurentis Lion of the Future Award for Best First Film
Love Is a Gun by Lee Hong-Chi
Best film Orizzonti Extra
Happiness by Micaela Ramazzotti
Source: Vanity Fair
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