2022 Venice Film Festival

All the Beauty and the Bloodshed

In the general competition, the jury, chaired by Julianne Moore, awarded the top prize to documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras (Oscar for the Edward Snowden doc “Citizenfour”) for her portrait of photographer supreme Nan Goldin in “All the Beauty and the Bloodshed”. Goldin, you will remember, was the inspiration for the Ally Sheedy character in director Lisa Cholodenko’s “High Art”, and it was Goldin’s photos that were used in that movie. Given that “High Art” thrived on its opioid milieu, it’s not surprising that Nan was in an ideal position to take on the infamous Slacker family portrayed with such relish by Michael Stuhlbarg in “Dopesick”. Nan is now clean, and we wish her well.

All the Beauty and the Bloodshed

This is the first time that a non-fiction feature has taken the Golden Lion since 2013. However, because Venice has several juries going on at once, Laura ended up getting a nasty slap in the face before she left the Lido (see below).

Meanwhile, doing a circle within circles, famed documentary filmmaker Alice Diop got the runners-up (Grand Jury) prize for her first narrative film “Saint Omer”. Based on a ripped-from-the-headlines true story, the film follows a novelist who attends the trial of a immigrant woman in northern France. The woman is accused of leaving her 15-month-old baby girl on a beach to be claimed by the incoming tide. The novelist wants to use her story to write a modern-day adaptation of the ancient myth of Medea, but things don’t go as expected.

Alice Diop

Meanwhile, the folks over at HORIZANS EXTRA decide to honor Diop with their Luigi de Laurentiis Award for Best Debut Feature ignoring the fact that Diop has made seven very impressive documentaries including 2020’s stunning “Nous”. And what a nasty parting gift to Poitras: we give you our top award but honey, when it comes down to it, only narrative fiction counts.

Tar

No surprise for Best Actress (Cate Blanchett for Tár).

Bones and All

Homeboy Luca Guadagnino took home the Best Director award for his Timothée Chalamet headed horror-romance “Bones and All” with Chalamet’s costar Taylor Russell taking the Marcello Mastroianni Award for Best Young Actor.

The Banshees of Inisherin

Colin Farrell took Best Actor (here with Barry Keoghan) while Martin McDonagh took Best Screenplay, both or “Inisherin”.

Jafar Panahi, who has been under house arrest in his native Iran for the past six years, managed to deliver another feature “No Bears” and was awarded the Special Jury Prize.

Outside of the main competition there was buzz surrounding three films from the Céline Sciamma-chaired VENICE DAYS sidebar:

The Maiden

Canadian director Graham Foy’s “The Maiden” which centers on a group of teenagers who discover a missing woman’s diary while exploring a ravine. CINEMA OF THE FUTURE AWARD.

Wolf and Dog

“Wolf and Dog” the first feature film by Portuguese director Claudia Varejão. which follows a group of queer teenagers growing up in the religious town of San Miguel in the Azores who yearn for more than the small-town ideals and the mundane lifestyle of their parents. BEST DIRECTOR AWARD.

Blue Jean

Georgia Oakley’sBlue Jean” (as in David Bowie) has already been acquired by Magnolia for distribution in the US. Set in 1988 in Thatcher’s Britain, a closeted teacher is pushed to the brink when a new student threatens to expose her sexuality. PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD.

Eismayer

Finally, from the CRITICS WEEK came their Grand Prize winner David Wagner’s “Eismayer”. Vice Lieutenant Eismayer (Gerard Liebmann) is the the most feared trainer in the Austrian Military and lives as a gay man in secret. When he falls in love with a young, openly gay soldier (Luca Dimic), his world gets turned upside down. Based on real events.

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