US director Sofia Coppola on Saturday won the Golden Lion at the Venice film festival for "Somewhere," a father-daughter drama set in the lonely world of Hollywood moviemaking.
"From that first enchanted screening it grew and grew in our hearts, in our minds, in our affections," said jury president Quentin Tarantino, Coppola’s former boyfriend, as he announced the top prize, adding that the decision had been unanimous.
The Silver Lion for best director went to Álex de la Iglesia of Spain for his dark comedy "A Sad Trumpet Ballad," a love triangle in a zany circus setting which the director said was an attempt to "exorcise" the enduring pain of the Spanish Civil War.
Jerzy Skolimowski’s "Essential Killing" about an American Taliban who is captured in Afghanistan, "rendered" to Poland, then escapes into an endurance test in snowy mountains, won the special jury prize as well as a best actor award for Vincent Gallo.
Tarantino also announced a "Special Lion" for cult director Monte Hellman, who was in Venice with "Road to Nowhere," a complex romantic noir thriller.
The veteran US director, 78, was the executive director of Tarantino’s debut film, the 1992 crime flick "Reservoir Dogs."
"This director is both a great cinematic artist and a minimalist poet," Tarantino said of Hellman. "His work was an inspiration to this jury and it is our honor to honor him."
The jury at the world’s oldest film festival also included fellow directors Arnaud Desplechin of France, Guillermo Arriaga of Mexico and Italian Gabriele Salvatores.
"Somewhere," a portrayal of the peculiar desolation of the Hollywood lifestyle, is about A-list actor Johnny Marco (Stephen Dorff) and his daughter Cleo (12-year-old Elle Fanning), adrift in the lonely world of Hollywood moviemaking.
"I try to put myself in all the characters that I write," the 39-year-old Oscar winner for "Lost in Translation" told a news conference after accepting the award.
Among the people she thanked was her father Francis Ford Coppola, "for teaching me."
Iglesia, 44, said ahead of the screening of "A Sad Trumpet Ballad" that it was "an exorcism of anguish through humor, irony, comedy mixed with the noir genre so everything can have a proper burial."
The Spanish director, whose 1995 horror comedy "The Day of the Beast" won cult status in his homeland, added: "This is a love story, a crazy, ruthless, wild kind of love. The anxiety and the search for revenge lead to the destruction of the object of love."
On Saturday he said: "The trick is how best to mix the elements."
An award for best photography went to Mikhail Krichman in the film "Silent Souls" by Russia’s Aleksei Fedorchenko, the tender story of a member of Russia’s vanished Merya minority who drives thousands of miles to bury his wife in a sacred lake according to ancient pagan rituals.
The visual and lyrical feast for the senses paints a compelling portrait of a people long ago assimilated into Russia’s Slavic mainstream who nevertheless retain their myths and traditions.
Ariane Labed of France won a best actress award for her role in the experimental film "Attenberg" by Athina Rachel Tsangari of Greece.
Darren Aronofsky’s "Black Swan" garnered the Marcello Mastroianni prize for best young actress for the performance of Mila Kunis, 27, the duplicitous friend of an ambitious but psychologically tormented prima ballerina played by Natalie Portman.
Twenty-four films competed in the Mostra, which screened 79 full-length world premieres from 34 countries all together over 11 days.
French actress Ariane Labed poses with the Volpi Cup for best actress she won for "Attenberg" during a photo call following the awards ceremony. (AFP Photo / Vincenzo Pinto)
Spanish film director Álex de la Iglesiaposes with the Silver Lion for Best Director he received for his film "Balada triste de trompeta.” (AFP Photo / Alberto Pizzoli)