Laura Poitras’s documentary All the Beauty and the Bloodshed has won the 2022 Golden Lion for best film at the 79th Venice International Film Festival.
The documentary follows the life of artist Nan Goldin and her campaign against the Sackler family, the pharmaceutical dynasty that was largely responsible for the opioid epidemic. The film is the first documentary to take top honors in Venice.
Poitras, an Oscar-winner for her Edward Snowden documentary Citizenfourdedicated the prize to Goldin.
“This is for Nan. I love you Nan. Monday is her birthday, so we’ll bring this to Nan,” she said.
Produced by Participant and Poitras’ Praxis Films, All the Beauty and the Bloodshed will go out domestically via Neon and HBO.
Cate Blanchett won Venice’s best actress honors for her bracing turn as a classical conductor in Todd Field’s Tár. The award kicks off the Oscar campaign for the film, and for Blanchett, who has been receiving near-universal praise for her performance.
Accepting her award, she thanked Field, saying he had “been absent from our screens for too long…and I’m glad you’re back.”
Colin Ferrell beat out Brendan Fraser and other frontrunners to take the best actor award at the 2022 Venice Film Festival for his starring performance in Martin McDonagh’s The Banshees of Inisherin. Ferrell accepted his honor via video link from Los Angeles, saying he was “shocked” to have won. His director, McDonagh also won best screenplay for his Irish-set drama.
Taylor Russell, the breakout star from Wavespicked up the best young actress award for her performance as a drifter and sometimes cannibal in Luca Guadagnino’s Bones and All. Guadagnino also won the Silver Lion for Best Director.
Saint Omer, the narrative feature debut of French documentarian Alice Diop, won the Silver Bear grand jury prize as well as the Lion of the Future prize for best debut film. In the legal drama, Diop chronicles the trial of a Franco-Senegalese mother who committed infanticide.
The award for best short film went to Snow in September from Mongolian director Lkhagvadulam Purev-Ochir.
In Venice’s Horizons sidebar, the prize for best film went to the Iranian drama World War III from director Houman Seyyedi. Mohsen Tanabandeh took the best actor honor in Horizons for his starring performance in the film, in which he plays a traumatized man who gets cast to play Adolf Hitler in an ill-advised WWII movie. Tanabandeh dedicated the prize half to his wife and half to “workers in Iran” who he said had to suffer as his character does in the film. Seyyedi also dedicated his trophy “to the people of my country, Iran.”
Vera Gemma won the best actress honor in the Horizons section for her starring role in Vera from directors Tizza Covi and Rainer Frimmel, who also picked up the best director honor. The special jury prize went to Bread and Salt from director Damian Kocur. The prize for best screenplay in the Horizons section went to Fernando Guzzoni for his script for his Chilean foster home drama Blanquita.
The Venice Immersive line-up, which recognizes excellence in VR filmmaking, with the top, best experience award going to The Man Who Couldn’t Leave from Singing Chen. The immersive Grand Jury Prize went to From the Main Square from Brazilian director Pedro Harres, with a special jury prize for Eggscape by German Heller.
The prize for best-restored film went to the 1967 Japanese crime classic Branded to Kill from Seijun Suzuki.
Fragments of Paradise from director KD Davidson won the Venice honor for best documentary on cinema. The film follows the life of Jonas Mekas, internationally known as the “godfather” of avant-garde cinema, from his arrival in New York City as a displaced person in 1949 to his death in 2019.
The Armani Beauty Audience Award, voted on by the Venice film-going public, went to the Syrian war drama Nezouh from Soudade Kaadan.
Full list of main competition winners.
Golden Lion: All The Beauty and the Bloodshed, dir. Laura Poitras
Grand Jury Prize: Saint Omer, dir. Alice Diop
Silver Lion for Best Director: Bones and All, dir. Luca Guadagnino
Special Jury Prize: From Bears, dir. Jafar Panahi
Best Young Actor: Taylor Russell for Bones and All
Best Actress: Cate Blanchett for Tár
Best Actor: Colin Farrell for The Banshees of Inisherin
Best Screenplay: The Banshees of Inisherinwritten by Martin McDonagh