The American film Joker by Todd Phillips, about the origins of Batman’s sworn enemy, won the Golden Lion at the 76th Venice Film Festival, announced Paolo Barrata, president of the Venice Biennale, on Saturday.
The Grand Jury Prize went to French director Roman Polanski’s Yo acuso, a political thriller whose selection in competition caused controversy.
Phillips’ film deals with the childhood and beginnings of the “Joker”, one of the best-known villains of the Batman saga, but in a dark and nihilistic key, by the hand of actor Joaquin Phoenix, whose performance has been praised at the festival.
Phoenix is “the bravest, proudest and riskiest lion I know,” Phillips said, picking up the award at the Venice Film Palace with emotion.
For its part, the Yo acuso prize was won by the French actress Emmanuelle Seigner, wife of 86-year-old Polanski, who was unable to attend the competition because she is still under threat of extradition from the United States for a case of sexual abuse that dates back decades.
I Accuse narrates the episode of anti-Semitism that shook France in the late 19th century, when a Jewish army officer, Captain Alfred Dreyfuss, was accused of treason with false evidence, to end up being rehabilitated after a memorable public defense campaign led by writer Emile Zola.
The prize for best actor in the Italian competition was awarded to the Italian Luca Marinelli for his role in Martin Eden, and the prize for best actress was awarded to the French actress Ariane Ascaride for Gloria Mundi.
The list of winners at the 76th Venice Film Festival:
- Golden Lion for Best Film: Joker by US director Todd Phillips
- Grand Jury Prize: Frenchman Roman Polanski for Yo acuso (in Spanish El oficial y el espía)
- Silver Lion for Best Direction: Swedish Roy Andersson for About Endlessness
- Special Jury Prize: La mafia non è più quella di una volta, by the Italian Franco Maresco
- Volpi Cup for the best actor: Italian Luca Marinelli by Martin Eden
- Volpi Cup for the best actress: the French Ariane Ascaride by Gloria Mundi
- Best Screenplay Award: No. 7 Cherry Lane by Hong Kong-born Yonfan
- Marcello Mastroianni Award for Best Actor/Actress: Australian Toby Wallace for Babyteeth
- Golden Lion in the Race for Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar and British actress Julie Andrews