VENICE, Italy – Mexican filmmaker Guillermo del Toro, known for his gothic horror films, won the Golden Lion for his lyrical fairy period tale “The Shape of Water” – the love story between a cleaning lady and an aquatic creature – at the 74th Venice Film Festival.
British playwright Martin McDonagh won the award for best screenplay for the much-loved dark comedy “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri,” starring Frances McDormand, Sam Rockwell and Woody Harrelson, at the festival that ended Saturday evening.
France’s Xavier Legrand grabbed the Silver Lion for best director and best first film for his powerful drama on domestic violence “Jusqu’á la garde,” (Custody), while Israeli director Samuel Maoz’s “Foxtrot,” the story of an Israeli family grieving for their soldier son, won the runner-up Grand Jury prize.
Legendary actors Robert Redford and Jane Fonda, who starred in “Our Souls at Night” that was not competing in the festival, were awarded the Lifetime Achievement award last week.
George Clooney’s new directorial venture, “Suburbicon,” grabbed a lot of eyeballs as did Spaniards Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz’s “Loving Pablo,” a film on the life of the Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar.
This year’s festival, which also included virtual reality and television productions, showcased several hard-hitting documentaries including “Ex Libris,” an exhaustive portrait of the New York Public Library; “Cuba and the Cameraman,” a tale spanning 45 years of Cuban history; “Caniba,” the terrifying story of a real cannibal; “Human Flow,” a tale of the refugee humanitarian told by Chinese artist Ai Weiwei and Jim Carrey’s documentary on his critically acclaimed work “Man on the Moon,” based on the life of the late comedian Andy Kaufman.
“There’s a character that is playing me my whole life, in reality it’s not me,” Carrey had said while presenting the film.