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Sacro GRA takes Golden Lion at Venice Film Festival

Story by Jack Foley

SACRO GRA, a documentary about about life near the ring road circling Italy’s capital, has taken the Golden Lion Award at this year’s Venice Film Festival (2013).

Directed by Venice regular Gianfranco Rosi, the film is the first Italian winner since 1998. It wasn’t even considered a front-runner for awards success going into the festival.

It is also the first documentary ever to win the Golden Lion.

Rosi said the win came as a complete surprise, adding that he had never expected to win such a prestigious award with a documentary.

Elsewhere, Greek director Alexandros Avranas was given the Silver Lion for Best Director for his work on Miss Violence, which finds an apparently normal family coming under scrutiny after one of the children commits suicide on her birthday.

Themis Panou, who plays the girl’s father, was also awarded the Coppa Volpo for Best Actor – another notable decision from the festival, which required special permission from its organizers.

Elena Cotta, who plays a stubborn woman in a traffic feud in Via Castellana Bandiera, took Best Actress. That film marks the silver screen debut of noted dramatist Emma Dante.

JiaoYou (Stray Dogs), from former Golden Lion winner Tsai Ming-liang, was given the newly-created jury prize. The film chronicles the difficulties of a man and his two children on the edge of society in the Taiwanese capital.

And Stephen Frears’ Philomena, took the award for best screenplay.

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