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Venice Film Festival Awards: 'The Queen'

Still Life by Jia Zhang-Ke

The Queen (2006) directed by Stephen Frears, starring Helen Mirren, Michael Sheen, James Cromwell, Sylvia Syms"Thank you, Tony Blair, for timing your political disintegration with the release of our film.” That's The Queen's screenwriter Peter Morgan, winner of the Best Screenplay Award at this year's Venice Film Festival. In The Queen, which was directed by Stephen Frears, Coppa Volpi for Best Actress winner Helen Mirren plays Queen Elizabeth II, at odds with the Blair government following the death of Princess Diana.(For those into betting on future Oscar nominees, Mirren is a cinch – and she has a very good chance of actually winning the award.)

The surprise Golden Lion winner was Jia Zhang-Ke's Sanxia Haoren / Still Life. A late entry at the festival, Still Life portrays the plight of the people of Fengjie, a village destroyed by the building of the Three Gorges dam. More than 1 million Chinese have been forced to relocate because of the dam.

Hollywoodland (2006) directed by Allen Coulter, starring Ben Affleck, Diane Lane, Adrien BrodyAnother surprise winner was Ben Affleck, who was awarded the Coppa Volpi for Best Actor for his performance as actor George Reeves in the film noir Hollywoodland, about the death of TV's Superman.

Alain ResnaisThe Best Director was 84-year-old veteran Alain Resnais for Coeurs / Private Fears in Public Places, which had been one of the top contenders for the Golden Lion. Resnais' Last Year in Marienbad had won the Golden Lion back in 1961.

Mahamat-Saleh Haroun's Daratt, about the lingering effects of Chad's civil war, took the Special Jury Prize.

The Great Italian Hope, Gianni Amelio's La stella che non c'è / The Missing Star, failed to win a single major award.


Golden Lion for Best Film: Sanxia Haoren / Still Life by Jia Zhang-Ke

Special Jury Prize: Daratt by Mahamat-Saleh Haroun

Silver Lion for Best Dir.: Alain Resnais for Coeurs / Private Fears in Public Places

Silver Lion Revelation: Emanuele Crialese for Nuovomondo / Golden Door

Coppa Volpi for Best Actor: Ben Affleck for Hollywoodland by Allen Coulter

Coppa Volpi for Best Actress: Helen Mirren for The Queen by Stephen Frears

Marcello Mastroianni Award for Best Young Actor: Isild Le Besco for L'intouchable by Benoît Jacquot

Osella for Best Scr.: Peter Morgan for The Queen by Stephen Frears

Osella for Best Technical Contribution: Cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki for Children of Men by Alfonso Cuarón

Special Lion: Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet for innovation in the language of cinema

Grand Jury: Catherine Deneuve (president), José Juan Bigas Luna, Paulo Branco, Cameron Crowe, Chulpan Khamatova, Park Chan-wook, Michele Placido

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