The US film Nomadland won first prize at the Venice Film Festival, the first event of its kind held with a live audience since the outbreak of Covid-1
The film, by Chloé Zhao, born in China, stars Frances McDormand as a widow living as a nomad after the 2008 financial crisis.
The thriller New Order by Mexican director Michel Franco and the historical drama Wife of a Spy by Japanese director Kiyoshi Kurosawa also received awards.
Guests had to wear masks at the screenings.
About half of the seats in the Lido waterfront venues have been left empty and few celebrities have made the trip to the world’s oldest film festival.
Australian actress Cate Blanchett, who led the jury at the 77th festival, said the winner was chosen after “sound and robust” deliberations by jury members.
“A good discussion is a good discussion with a mask or not,” he said.
Zhao, who is the first woman to win the festival’s top prize, the Golden Lion, in 10 years, and McDormand were speaking via Zoom from California.
“Thank you so much for letting us come to your festival in this world and weird, weird, weird way,” McDormand said.
The festival’s Grand Jury Prize went to Franco’s film, while Kurosawa was named Best Director. They jointly received the Silver Lions.
Russian director Andrei Konchalovsky received the Special Jury Prize for Dear Comrades!, A film about the massacre of protesters in the USSR in 1962.
The British Vanessa Kirby won the award for best actress, while the award for best actor went to the Italian Pierfrancesco Favino.
Last year, Joker, with Joaquin Phoenix, won the first prize of the festival.
- Joker and Roman Polanski win at the Venice Film Festival
The annual gathering in the Italian city is one of the “big three” film festivals, along with Cannes and Berlin.
The Berlin festival ran as planned from February 20 to March 1.
But the organizers of the Cannes festival – which was scheduled for May – have been forced to postpone the event due to the coronavirus epidemic.