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70th Venice Film Festival Winners Announced

By Liza Foreman

The 70th Venice Film Festival came to a close Saturday night with a raft of prizes awarded here on the Lido by a jury headed by Bernardo Bertolucci.

The main prize, the Golden Lion, went to Sacro Gra by Gianfranco Rosi, while Best Director went to one of the hottest titles from the festival, Miss Violence, and director Alexandros Avranas.

The Grand Jury prize prize went to Tsai Ming-liang for Stray Dogs which had been tipped by critics to win prizes here despite its depressing imagery which saw many festival guests walk out of screenings.

In it second prize of the night, Miss Violence also won Best Actor for Themis Panou s performance.

Best Actress went to Elena Cotta for Via Castellana Bandiera by Emma Dante. The prize was expected to go to Judy Dench who played a simple woman who leads a tortured life, after her son is take by nuns in the film, Philomena. With the help of a journalist she traces her son, only to find he has passed.

David Gordon Green s film Joe took home Best Young Actor or actress for Tye Sheridan s performance.

Philomena settled for Best Screenplay in an award which went to Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope.

The Special Jury Prize went to Philip Groening for Die Frau des Polizisten.

In a press conference after the awards, Saturday night, Paul Schrader talked up new technologies and exempliry uses of them as among the factors influencing the decisions reached by the jury.

He singled out the buzzed about Iranian film Fish and Cat for its use of technology.

This year s jury included the British director Andrea Arnold, German actress Martina Gedeck, French actress Virgine Ledoye and Ryuichi Sakamoto of Japan.

This year saw the second go round of the Venice film market which attracted a number of players.

Overall, Venice was celebrated as a place where the focus was clearly on the films, without the distractions of the market and business in Cannes and Berlin.

Festival favorites included the film Locke by Steven Knight.