You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Pieta’ wins Golden Lion; ‘Master’ takes Silver

South Korean film wins top honor at Venice; Paul Thomas Anderson earns kudo for best director

South Korean helmer Kim Ki-duk’s twisted thriller “Pieta,” about a mean loan shark who softens up after meeting a woman who claims to be his mother, is the winner of the 69th Venice Film Festival’s Golden Lion.

Ki-duk thanked the jury, headed by Michael Mann, by singing a Korean song.

But while “Pieta,” considered a return to top form by the Asian arthouse darling, took Venice’s top nod, Paul Thomas Anderson’s “The Master” came away with the most prizes, sparking some controversy over this year’s prizegiving method.

“The Master,” Anderson’s powerful drama about the tender male bond between a character based on Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, played by Philip Seymour Hoffman, and a wild, alcoholic, free-spirited follower (Joaquin Phoenix), took both the Silver Lion for Best Director and best male acting nods, ex-aequo, for both Hoffman and Phoenix.

The fact that “The Master” scored multiple prizes, suggests it was the subject of complex negotiations among jurors, as Mann indirectly confirmed.

During the closing ceremony Mann first praised Ki-duk’s “Pieta,” saying it stood out in particular because it “seduced you viscerally.”

He then said the jury tried to “cast the right picture to the right award,” without considering the prizes a strict hierarchy.

Mann further elaborated at the post-awards presser noting that Venice fest rules do not allow a pic to win the Golden Lion and also score acting prizes.

“So we decided that a good way to give ‘The Master’ its fullest recognition was, according to a non-hierarchical principle, to give it the prize for best director and also for the actors,” Mann said.

Hoffmann, looking scruffy, after stepping out of a plane from Toronto and “changing in the bathroom,” paid tribute to Phoenix.

“Joaquin Phoenix is a life force in the film and I kind of rode it in the film, and that was my performance,” he said.

Receiving the award for Anderson, Hoffmann praised the helmer as “one of the great filmmakers in the world. I think he’s the best.”

Austrian director Ulrich Seidel scooped the Special Jury nod for his provocative black comedy “Paradise: Faith,” about an aged femme missionary who self-flagellates in front of a crucifix.

The best actress nod went to Israel’s Hadas Yaron for “Fill The Void” by Rama Bursthein, a fest standout in which Yaron plays a young woman in an Orthodox Hasidic Jewish community whose marriage runs into tragic complications prompting a difficult dilemma.

Gallic helmer Olivier Assayas took the best screenplay nod for “Something in the Air,” an early 1970’s-set coming-of-age pic which drew plenty of praise and had been expected to land one of the main three nods.

The Marcello Mastroianni prize for best emerging thesp went to young Italo actor Fabrizio Falco for his roles in both Marco Bellocchio’s “Dormant Beauty” and Daniele Cipri’s “It Was The Son.”

“It Was The Son,” a Mafia tragicomedy, also took a prize for best cinematography. Italo pics went otherwise empty-handed, prompting customary post-Venice polemics.

The Lion of the Future for best first work went to Turkish helmer Ali Aydin’s drama “Mold,” a Critics’ Week entry about a man on a mission,18 years after the fact, to discover the truth about his son’s death in police custody. Nanni Moretti’s Sacher Film will release “Mold” in Italy.

Chinese helmer Wang Bing took the top prize in the fest’s Horizons section for more cutting-edge works with docu “Three Sisters” about extreme poverty in a remote Yunnan village.

Despite some embarassing confusion during the closing ceremony and some probable polemics over this year’s prizes, Venice’s 69th edition wrapped on a positive note with praise for artistic director Alberto Barbera, back at the helm after over a decade.

Barbera’s slimmed-down lineup went over quite well with critics, the new Venice Film Market he launched was a success, and there were no major organizational glitches.

Overall attendance was down due to the economic crisis, with less hotel rooms booked, but the market brought more industry folks this year and international press presence was on a par with the past.




“Pieta” (Kim ki-Duk, South Korea)


“The Master” (Paul Thomas Anderson, U.S.)


“Paradise: Faith” (Ulrich Seidl, Austria, Germany, France)


Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix (“The Master”)


Hadas Yaron (“Fill The Void,” Israel)


Fabrizio Falco (“Dorman Beauty” and “It Was The Son,” Italy)


Olivier Assayas (“Something in the Air”, France)

TECHNICAL CONTRIBUTION — Best Cinematography Daniele Cipri for (“It Was The Son,” Daniele Cipri, Italy)


“Mold” (Ali Aydin, Turkey)



“Three Sisters” (Wang Bing, France, Hong Kong)


“Tango Libre” (Frederic Fonteyne, France, Belgium, Luxembourg)


“Cho-De” (Yoo Min-young, South Korea)


“Titloi Telous” (Yorgos Zois, Greece)

Popular on Variety

More Scene

  • Will Arnett & Robert Shapiro

    Will Arnett Opens Up About His Sobriety: 'I'm Very, Very Grateful on a Daily Basis'

    “Sobriety to me is a gift,” Will Arnett said upon receiving the Spirit of Sobriety Award at the Brent Shapiro Foundation Summer Spectacular. “It’s something that I was fortunate enough to be able to receive and I’m very, very grateful on a daily basis. Sobriety has touched so many people, not just me but so [...]

  • Billy Porter ABC Disney FX Party

    Emmys 2019: Inside the Post-Show Parties

    After the final awards were presented at the 71st Primetime Emmys, television’s biggest stars and execs headed off for final toasts to this year’s festivities. Things kicked off at the Governors Ball and didn’t end until the wee hours at parties throughout Los Angeles. Here, Variety gives you the inside details on all the hottest [...]

  • US record producer The-Dream arrives for

    Top Music Publishers Come Together for Songs of Hope Honors

    The 15th annual Songs of Hope honors united songwriters, music industry insiders and more than a few preeminent doctors at producer Alex Da Kid’s Sherman Oaks compound on Thursday night. Jimmy Jam returned to host the event, which served as a fundraiser for the ever-vital City of Hope medical treatment center as well as a [...]

  • Renee Zellweger Rufus Wainwright Sam Smith

    Renée Zellweger: Judy Garland Was 'My Childhood Hero'

    Awards buzz is building around Renée Zellweger for her performance as Judy Garland, emerging as a frontrunner in the Oscar race for best actress. But for her, the real prize was paying tribute to Garland, of whom she’s been a lifelong fan. “Nobody was prettier, nobody sang prettier…the adventures she had, [she was] my childhood [...]

  • Keke Palmer BlogHer19 Summit

    Keke Palmer Brought to Tears Accepting Truth Teller Award at #BlogHer19 Creators Summit

    Keke Palmer stood surprised and wide-mouthed on the #BlogHer19 Creators Summit stage as she was presented with the Truth Teller Award for her recent acting work — and her viral “sorry to this man” clip. “This means so much,” the multi-hyphenated star softly whispered as she got teary-eyed upon accepting the award. Last week, the [...]


    Emmys 2019: Inside All the Hottest Pre-Parties

    It’s (Emmys) party time! Before the 71st annual Emmys go live on Sunday, stars and execs are keeping busy by party-hopping in the days leading up to the big show. Here, Variety gives you the inside details on who was where and what they were doing. Keep checking back right here throughout the weekend for [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content