Venice film festival: shock and awe as Joker - and Roman Polanski - triumph

Carla Harmon
September 10, 2019

The movie, which stars Joaquin Phoenix and is slated to hit theaters on October 4, explores the origins of the Joker, Batman's archenemy.

The Silver Lion, for best director, was won by Swedish filmmaker Roy Andersson for About Endlessnessi.

And there were audible gasps when French-Polish director Polanski - a pariah in Hollywood after his rape conviction - was handed the Grand Prix second prize for his Dreyfus Affair drama, An Officer and a Spy.

Polanski pleaded guilty in 1977 to having unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl in Los Angeles.

Hundreds of demonstrators took over the red carpet at the Venice Film Festival for several hours on Saturday, demanding action to fight climate change and a ban on cruise ships entering the lagoon city.


The Venice Film Festival also handed out prizes to a diverse array of films in other sections, like Venice Classics, Virtual Reality and Horizons.

Jury president Martel issued a statement saying that while she does not "separate the art from the artist", she bore no prejudice toward Polanski's film.

A Hong Kong film director expressed hope for freedom in the territory while accepting the award for best screenplay at the Venice International Film Festival. There is no movie, he said, "without Joaquin".

It is the only film from Southeast Asia under the Venice Film Festival's official selection and the only Filipino feature film selected at TIFF and TFF this year. In addition to that, it's being helmed by the same guy who directed The Hangover.

"He is very happy and I am convinced this is a very important movie for him, it will give him a lot", she told reporters.


It is the first superhero film ever to get this kind of arthouse kudos, and could now be on its way to Oscar glory.

The Volpi Cup for the best female role was taken by Frenchwoman Ariane Ascaride, who played in the "Gloria Mundi".

Both referenced the migrant crisis in their speeches.

A Special Jury Prize went to Italian director Franco Maresco for his documentary "La Mafia non è più quella di una volta" (Mafia is not what it used to be).


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