According to the DPA agency, this is the sixth Golden Lion in the history of the Venice Festival in the hands of a female filmmaker. Last year, too, a woman, Chloé Zhao, won with the film The Land of Nomads.
“Unfortunately, when you’re working on abortion, you’re still relevant,” said the award-winning 41-year-old director of Lebanese descent. “I made this film with anger and desire, I made it with my stomach, my insides, my heart,” Diwan added.
The main protagonist of the filmed story is a carefree student in France in the 1960s, when secret abortions were punished by imprisoning those who performed them and those who helped them. Decriminalization did not occur until 1975.
The Grand Jury Prize, the second most important award of the festival, went to Italian director Paolo Sorrentino for the film God’s Hand, in which he recalls his youth in Naples.
In other individual categories, women often triumphed at the 78th annual festival. New Zealander Jane Campion dominated the category of best director thanks to the film The Power of a Dog. The award for the best actress was won by the famous Spaniard Penélope Cruz. The 47-year-old Oscar-winning actress’s success was further collaborated with director Pedro Almodóvar in the film Madres paralelas (Parallel Mothers). In the opening film of the festival, she played one of two mothers who became pregnant unplanned.
The Best Actor Award goes to John Arcell for his role in Erik Matti’s Filipino drama on corruption On the Job: The Missing 8.
American actress Maggie Gyllenhaal received an award for best screenplay. She wrote it for The Lost Daughter, which was also her directorial debut. A special jury award goes to the Italian film from the speleological environment Il buco (Hole) by director Michelangelo Frammartin.
The Venice Film Festival is the oldest in the world. This year, 21 works applied for the Golden Lion. Among them was the film Don’t Leave Traces by Polish director Jan P. Matuszyński, which was created in a Czech co-production. In the Horizons section, however, Slovaks Peter Kerekes and Ivan Ostrochovský won the award for the best screenplay thanks to a film from the prison environment of Cenzorka, which was created in a Slovak-Czech-Ukrainian co-production.