‘Poor Things’, a film about Victorian-era female empowerment, won the Golden Lion on Saturday at a Venice Film Festival largely deprived of Hollywood glamour because of the writers and actors strikes.
The film, starring Emma Stone, won the top prize at the 80th edition of the festival, which is often a predictor of Oscar glory. Receiving the award, director Yorgos Lanthimos said the film wouldn’t exist without Stone, who was also a producer but was not on the Lido for the festival.
“This film is her, in front and behind the camera,” Lanthimos said.
The film, based on Alasdair Gray’s 1992 novel of the same name, tells the tale of Bella Baxter, who is brought back to life by a scientist and, after a whirlwind learning curve, runs off with an evil lawyer and embarks on a series of adventures devoid of the societal judgements of the era.
Other top winners on the Lido were two films shaming Europe for its migration policies.
‘Io Capitano’, (Me Captain) by Matteo Garrone, won the award for best director while Garrone’s young star, Seydou Sarr, won the award for best young actor. The film tells the story of two young boys’ odyssey from Dakar, Senegal, to the detention camps in Libya and finally across the Mediterranean to Europe.
Agnieszka Holland’s ‘Green Border’, about Europe’s other migration crisis on the Polish-Belarus border, won the Special Jury Prize.
Peter Sarsgaard won best actor for ‘Memory’, in which he co-stars with Jessica Chastain in a film about high schoolers reuniting. In his acceptance speech, Sarsgaard referred to the strike and artificial intelligence and the threat it poses to the industry.
Cailee Spaeny won best actress for ‘Priscilla’, Sofia Coppola’s portrait of the private side of Priscilla and Elvis Presley.
The jury was headed by Damien Chazelle and included Saleh Bakri, Jane Campion, Mia Hansen-Løve, Gabriele Mainetti, Martin McDonagh, Santiago Mitre, Laura Poitras and Shu Qi.