Cate Blanchett named best actress at Venice Film Festival

Taiwanese director Ang Lee, whose films include 2005 hit Brokeback Mountain and contender for an all-time favourite Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, won the Golden Lion for best movie with his new release Lust, Caution at this year’s Venice Film Festival. The film is rated NC-17 in the U.S. for explicit sex scenes, which will need to be cut for the movie to even see release in China. It was a surprise win, as the film has gotten some pretty mixed reviews after the screenings last week. Lee’s director of photography Rodrigo Prieto, whose credits include Babel, Brokeback Mountain, Alexander, 21 Grams and Frida, won the award for best cinematography. Lee dedicated the Lion to the recently departed film icon Ingmar Bergman.

Brad Pitt was the other surprise winner in Venice. Even though it was his co-star Casey Affleck who impressed the critics and audiences with his take on Coward Robert Ford, Pitt was voted best actor for the job he’s done with Jesse James in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. The movie will see a limited release in the U.S. in a couple of weeks (September 21) and hit the theatres in Europe some time in October.

The Silver Lion went to Brian De Palma for direction of Redacted, a movie that reconstructs a rape and murder or a teenage Iraqi girl by U.S. soldiers, and the jury also gave a special prize to Todd Haynes’ Bob Dylan biopic I’m Not There and Abdellatif Kechiche’s La Graine et le Mullet, for which Hafsia Herzi won the Marcello Mastroianni award for best young actress.

Two other movies that received nods were Wes Anderson’s The Darjeeling Limited, a comedy starring Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody and Jason Schwartzman, which was voted best movie by a jury of school children, and Ed Radtke’s drama The Speed of Life, which scooped the first ever Queer Lion award for its excellent portrayal of a gay character.

Cate Blanchett, who won the award for best actress for her portrayal of one of the Dylans (the one who sold out and went electric) in I’m Not There, seems to be this year’s Oscar frontrunner, judging by the clip that appeared online a few months ago, showing Dylan’s encounter with Beat poet Allen Ginsberg. The movie will be screened at the Toronto Film Festival, but won’t see release until November. Other actors playing different aspects of Bob Dylan include Richard Gere, Heath Ledger, Ben Whishaw and Christian Bale. It will definitely be interesting to see if any of them have done a better job. :)

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