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  HOME | Arts & Entertainment

US Drama ‘Nomadland’ Takes Top Honor at Venice Film Festival

VENICE, Italy – “Nomadland,” which shows the impact of economic dislocation on marginalized people in the United States, received the Golden Lion on Saturday as the Venice Film Festival drew to a close.

The Silver Lion Grand Jury Prize went to “Nuevo Orden” (New Order), a dystopian tale of insurrection in Mexico.

A jury led by Cate Blanchett conferred the Coppa Volpi for Best Actress on Briton Vanessa Kirby, recognized for her performance as a woman who loses a baby in a home birth in “Pieces of a Woman.”

Italy’s Pierfrancesco Favino picked up the Coppa Volpi for Best Actor for “Padrenostro,” in which he portrays a senior policeman who survives an attempted assassination by left-wing guerrillas in 1976. Rouhollah Zamani (“Sun Children”) of Iran received the Marcello Mastroianni Award for Best Young Actor.

Kiyoshi Kurosawa took the Silver Lion for Best Director on the strength of “Wife of a Spy,” set in Japan during World War II. Andrei Konchalovsky’s “Dear Comrades,” about a 1962 massacre of striking workers in what was then the Soviet Union, got the Special Jury Prize.

The award for Best Screenplay went to Chaitanya Tamhane for “The Disciple,” which follows an Indian man’s quest to become a classical singer.

Though Italian officials deemed COVID-19 to be sufficiently under control to allow the Venice Film Festival to take place in-person, albeit under strict rules, many nominees were unable to attend.

The Golden Lion recipient, “Nomadland,” had its premiere on Friday in Venice. The film follows a widowed woman in her 60s (Oscar-winner Francis McDormand) as she takes to the road in a van after losing her job, joining other “nomads” who roam the Western US in search of temporary work.

McDormand and the film’s director, Chloe Zhou, appeared by videolink from Los Angeles to accept the award from Blanchett and the other jurors: Austrian director Veronika Franz; British filmmaker Joanna Hogg; Italian writer Nicola Lagioia, German filmmaker Christian Petzold; US actor Matt Dillon and French actress Ludivine Sagnier.

“Thank you so much for letting us come to your festival in this weird, weird world and way!” McDormand said. “But we’re really glad you let us come! And we’ll see you down the road!”

The director of “Nuevo Orden,” Michel Franco, was on hand in Venice to accept the Silver Lion.

His film presents a dark vision of an uprising of Mexico’s poor in the not-too-distant future and Franco said he never imagined at the start of the project that the picture would correspond so closely to the reality of the world amid a pandemic which is putting additional strain on people at the bottom of the social hierarchy.

“I hope we change something,” he said.


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