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Coppola’s ‘Somewhere’ wins Golden Lion

Film takes top honors at Venice fest

Sofia Coppola’s melancholy reflection on celebrity, “Somewhere,” is the winner of the 67th Venice Film Festival’ s Golden Lion, a major feat in what is considered an especially strong selection this year on the Lido.

“This is a film that enchanted us from our first screening; yet, from that first enchanting screening it grew, and grew, and grew, in both our hearts and our analysis,” said jury prexy Quentin Tarantino.

“In our discussions, it kept illustrating what it was that we were looking for; the artistry that we were looking for, for a Golden Lion.”

The jury voted unanimously, Tarantino underlined.

Set largely in L.A’s legendary Chateau Marmont hotel, “Somewhere” stars Stephen Dorff as a desolate pill-popping Hollywood star who suddenly becomes close to his 11-year daughter, played by Elle Fanning.

“Thank you, I can’t believe it,” said Sofia Coppola.

“I’m so proud to have a Golden Lion which will mean so much for our film and help it reach more of an audience.” Among others, she thanked her father, Francis Ford Coppola for “teaching me.”

“Somewhere,” which Focus Features is expected to release Stateside in December, bowed last weekend in Italy via Medusa at number six.

The Silver Lion went to Spanish helmer Alex de la Iglesia’s political tragicomedy “The Last Circus,” a stylized pic in which two clowns engage in a violent spiral over a beautiful trapeze artist in their circus.

“Circus,” an allegory of sorts on the scars inflicted on the Spanish collective psyche by dictator Francisco Franco, also took the fest’s best screenplay nod.

De la Iglesia, when handed the Silver Lion, kneeled before the jury and screamed “For God’s sake, thank you!,” before breaking into Spanish.

Tarantino, in turn, got up got and screamed “Arriba!”

Venice’s Special Jury Prize went to Polish auteur Jerzy Skolimowski’s escape drama “Essential Killing,” which also scooped the male acting honor for Vincent Gallo’s almost-entirely-devoid-of-dialogue perf as an imprisoned Afghani Taliban soldier transported to a secret Western European location.

Gallo did not attend the ceremony.

“I am sure that he (Gallo) wants to thank his director, me, and his screenwriter, also me, and also his producer, me again,” Skolimowski joked.

The best actress prize went to Greek actress Ariane Labed for “Attenberg,” a tender sophomore feature helmed by compatriot Athina Rachel Tsangari, in which Labed plays a 23-year-old girl contending with her sexuality and also her dying architect father amid a post-industrial wasteland.

The Marcello Mastroianni nod for best emerging actress went to Mila Kunis for her supporting role in Darren Aronofsky’s “Black Swan.”

A Special Lion for the overall body of his work went to U.S. indie icon Monte Hellman whose unconventional noir “Road To Nowhere” found a substantial fan base on the Lido.

“I consider this movie my first film, and I think everything I’ve done before was a rehersal,” said Hellman.

The Lion of the Future for best first work went to Turkish film “Majority,” a drama about family conflict and national identity by Seren Yuce.

Consensus on the Lido is this was one of the best editions of Venice in recent memory, superior to Cannes, in terms of movies, which made the fest’s inadequate infrastructure all the more grating, as well as its customary organizational snags such as screenings delays.

The fest’s new Palazzo Del Cinema — which is currently a construction site dubbed ‘ground zero’ by the local press – is expected to to be completed in 2012.

Fest topper Marco Mueller has announced that next edition– his eighth, will be his last. Mueller plans to back to producing movies after heading Venice for the longest mandate in the fest’s history.

WINNERS OF THE 67TH VENICE FILM FESTIVAL OFFICIAL AWARDS

INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION JURY

GOLDEN LION

“Somewhere”(Sofia Coppola, U.S.)

SILVER LION

“The Last Circus” (“Balada triste de trompeta”) (Alex de la Iglesia, Spain, France)

SPECIAL JURY PRIZE

“Essential Killing”(Jerzy Skolimowski, Poland, Norway, Hungary, Ireland)

ACTOR

Vincent Gallo (“Essential Killing”)

ACTRESS

Ariane Labed (“Attenberg” Greece)

MARCELLO MASTROIANNI PRIZE FOR YOUNG PERFORMER

Mila Kunis (“Black Swan,” U.S.)

BEST SCREENPLAY

Alex de le Iglesia (“The Last Circus,” (“Balada triste de trompeta”) Spain, France)

TECHNICAL CONTRIBUTION — Best Cinematography

Mikhail Krichman for (“Silent Souls,”Aleksei Fedorchenko, Russia)

SPECIAL LION (FOR THE OVERALL BODY OF HIS WORK)

Monte Hellman, U.S.

LUIGI DE LAURENTIIS LION OF THE FUTURE

“Majority,”by Seren Yuce (Turkey)

HORIZONS PRIZES

FEATURE FILM

“Verano De Goliat,”Nicolas Pereda (Mexico, Canada)

SPECIAL JURY PRIZE FOR FEATURE FILMS

“The Forgotten Space,”Noel Burch, Allan Sekula (The Netherlands, Austria)

SHORT FILM

“Coming Attractions,”Peter Tscherkassy (Austria)

MEDIUM LENGTH FILM

“Out”Roee Rosen (Israel)

SPECIAL MENTION

“Jean Gentil,”Laura Guzman and Israel Cardenas (Dominican Repubblic, Mexico, Germany)

VENICE SHORT NOMINEE FOR THE EUROPEAN FILM AWARDS

“The External World,”David Oreilly (Germany)

CONTROCAMPO ITALIANO

“20 Cigarette,”Aureliano Amadei (Italy)

L’Oreal Paris Prize

Vittoria Puccini (Italy)

JAEGER–LECOULTRE GLORY TO THE FILMMAKER AWARD

Mani Ratnam (India)

Persol 3-D Prize for most creative 3D film of the year

A tie between:

“Avatar,”James Cameron (U.S.)

“How To Train Your Dragon,”Chris Sanders and Dean Deblois (U.S,)

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