Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain, the story of two male sheepherders who fall madly in love, was the winner of the Golden Lion at the 62nd Venice Film Festival.
The competition’s early favorite, George Clooney’s politically-minded Good Night, and Good Luck., won two of the festival’s top awards: the Volpi Cup for Best Actor David Strathairn, and the Best screenplay Osella for Clooney and Grant Heslov.
Giovanna Mezzogiorno was chosen best actress for her performance as a young married woman trying to cope with a history of sexual abuse at the hands of her father in Cristina Comencini’s La Bestia nel cuore / Don’t Tell.
Grand Jury: Dante Ferretti (president) (Italy); Cheng Ah (China); Claire Denis (France); Edgar Reitz (Germany); Emiliana Torrini (Iceland); Christine Vachon (USA); Amos Gitai (Israel).
The 2005 Venice Film Festival was held between Aug. 31–Sept. 10.
Golden Lion: Brokeback Mountain.
Special Jury Prize: Mary.
Silver Lion for Best Director: Regular Lovers / Les Amants réguliers.
Coppa Volpi for Best Actress: Giovanna Mezzogiorno, Don’t Tell / La Bestia nel cuore.
Coppa Volpi for Best Actor: David Strathairn, Good Night and Good Luck.
Osella for Best Screenplay: George Clooney & Grant Heslov, Good Night and Good Luck.
Osella for Outstanding Technical Contribution: Cinematographer William Lubtchansky, Regular Lovers.
Marcello Mastroianni Award for Best Young Actor or Actress: Ménothy Cesar, Heading South / Vers le sud.
Special Lion “for Overall Work”: Isabelle Huppert.
Horizons Prize: East of Paradise, dir.: Lech Kowalski.
Luigi De Laurentiis Award for First Feature: 13 (Tzameti), dir.: Géla Babluani.
FIPRESCI Award (Official Competition): Good Night, and Good Luck.
Golden Lion movie lineup
Among the films in competition for the Golden Lion at the 62nd Venice Film Festival are Patrice Chéreau’s Gabrielle, starring Isabelle Huppert; Abel Ferrara’s Mary, starring Juliette Binoche and Matthew Modine; Terry Gilliam’s The Brothers Grimm, with Matt Damon and Heath Ledger; and Fernando Meirelles’ The Constant Gardener, with Ralph Fiennes and Rachel Weisz. See complete film line-up below.
- Pupi Avati, La seconda notte di nozze (Italy).
Cast: Antonio Albanese. Katia Ricciarelli. Neri Marcorè.
- João Botelho, O Fatalista (Portugal / France).
Cast: Rogério Samora. André Gomes. Rita Blanco.
- Laurent Cantet, Heading South / Vers le sud (France / Canada).
Cast: Charlotte Rampling. Karen Young. Louise Portal.
- Patrice Chéreau, Gabrielle (France / Italy).
Cast: Isabelle Huppert. Pascal Greggory. Thierry Hancisse.
- George Clooney, Good Night and Good Luck (USA).
Cast: David Strathairn. George Clooney. Jeff Daniels. Patricia Clarkson. Robert Downey Jr.
- Cristina Comencini, Don’t Tell / La Bestia nel cuore (Italy).
Cast: Giovanna Mezzogiorno. Luigi Lo Cascio. Alessio Boni. Stefania Rocca. Angela Finocchiaro.
- Roberto Faenza, I Giorni dell’abbandono (Italy).
Cast: Margherita Buy. Luca Zingaretti. Goran Bregovic.
- Abel Ferrara, Mary (Italy / USA).
Cast: Juliette Binoche. Matthew Modine. Forest Whitaker.
- Philippe Garrel, Regular Lovers / Les Amants réguliers (France / Italy).
Cast: Louis Garrel. Clothilde Hesme. Julien Lucas.
- Alexey German Jr., Garpastum (Russia).
Cast: Chulpan Khamatova. Evgeny Pronin. Danila Kozlovsky.
- Terry Gilliam, The Brothers Grimm (U.K.).
Cast: Matt Damon. Heath Ledger. Jonathan Pryce. Monica Bellucci.
- Stanley Kwan, Everlasting Regret (China / Hong Kong).
Cast: Sammi Cheng. Tony Ka Fai Leung. Jun Hu.
- Ang Lee, Brokeback Mountain (USA).
Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal. Heath Ledger. Michelle Williams. Anne Hathaway.
- John Madden, Proof (U.K. / USA).
Cast: Gwyneth Paltrow. Jake Gyllenhaal. Anthony Hopkins.
- Fernando Meirelles, The Constant Gardener (U.K. / Kenya / Germany).
Cast: Ralph Fiennes. Rachel Weisz. Hubert Koundé. Sidede Onyulo.
- Manoel de Oliveira, Espelho Mágico (Portugal).
Cast: Michel Piccoli. Marisa Paredes. Leonor Silveira. Ricardo Trepa.
- Park Chan-wook, Lady Vengeance (South Korea).
Cast: Lee Young-ae. Choi Min-sik. Kwon Yea-young. Kim Si-hu. Nam Il-woo.
- John Turturro, Romance & Cigarettes (USA).
Cast: James Gandolfini. Kate Winslet. Susan Sarandon. Christopher Walken.
- Krzysztof Zanussi, Persona non grata (Poland / Russia / Italy).
Cast: Zbigniew Zapasiewicz. Nikita Mikhalkov. Jerzy Stuhr. Remo Girone.
Blessed by Fire: Controversial Argentinean movie revisits the Falklands War
Blessed by Fire / Iluminados por el fuego is a new – and controversial – Argentinean movie depicting Argentina’s disastrous military campaign to take over the Falkland Islands (known in that country as Las Malvinas) from Britain in the early ’80s. (Image: Gastón Pauls Blessed by Fire.)
Directed and co-written by Tristán Bauer, and starring the excellent Gastón Pauls (the younger con man in Nine Queens / Nueve reinas), Blessed by Fire is based on a book by Edgardo Esteban, who was one of the underarmed and underfed conscripts sent to fight the much better equipped British armed forces in the inhospitable South Atlantic archipelago.
“When you are 18, you don’t think about death,” says Esteban, currently a TV journalist. “But ever since this war, death has been with us constantly. Two things help me close this chapter – the book and now the movie.”
The dangers of patriotic fervor
Blessed by Fire is partly told in flashbacks, having as its starting point the suicide of a war veteran. (According to the filmmakers, approximately 300 Falklands War veterans have killed themselves; if so, that’s more than the number of those who died in land battles on the islands.) Tristán Bauer’s film also uses clips from newsreels, including one showing thousands of Argentines cheering then-president General Leopoldo Galtieri following his declaration of war.
Despite widespread corruption and economic rot, Argentina’s military junta was quite popular among die-hard Argentinean right-wingers, though the Falklands War debacle paved the way for the democratization of that country’s political system.
Blessed by Fire, which took five years to make, opens tomorrow, September 8, in Argentina. Besides Gastón Pauls, the cast includes Pablo Riva, César Albarracín, Víctor Hugo Carrizo, Virginia Innocenti, Juan Leyrado, Jon Lucas, and Arturo Bonín.
Iran Cinema Celebration Awards
The winners of the 2005 Iran Cinema Celebration Awards were announced at Vahdat Hall in Tehran on Sept. 11. Reza Mir-Karimi’s So Close So Far won six awards, including Best Film, Director, Actor (Masud Rayegan), Supporting Actress (Elham Hamidi), Make-Up, and, curiously, “Best Studio.”
Best Film: So Close So Far.
Best Director: Reza Mir-Karimi, So Close So Far.
Best Actress: Fereshteh Sadr-Orafaii, Border Café.
Best Actor: Masud Rayegan, So Close So Far.
Best Supporting Actress: Elham Hamidi, So Close So Far.
Best Supporting Actor: Mohsen Qazi-Morad, We Are All Good.
Best Screenplay: Café Transit, Kambuzia Partovi.
Best Cinematography: Fish Fall in Love, Mahmud Kalari.
Best Editing: Duel, Mostafa Kherqepush.
Best Music: Ahmad Pejman, The Weeping Willow.
Best Costume & Production Design: Duel, Amir Esbati.
Best Documentary: The Other Side of the Burka, dir.: Mehrdad Oskuii.
Best Animated Film: Iranian Chat, dir.: Amir Sharkhiz.
Edgar Esteban quote via AlertNet.
Gastón Pauls Blessed by Fire image: Distribution Company.