Birth – The World – The Keys to the House – A Long Winter without Fire – Vera Drake – The Sea Inside – Howl's Moving Castle

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Jurors: John Boorman (president), Wolfgang Becker, Mimmo Calopresti, Scarlett Johansson, Spike Lee, Dušan Makavejev, Helen Mirren, Pietro Scalia, Xu Feng

Golden Lion:Vera Drake, UK, dir. Mike Leigh
Grand Jury Prize:The Sea Inside, Spain, dir. Alejandro Amenábar
Special Jury Prize:Howl's Moving Castle, Japan, dir. Alejandro Amenábar
Best Director:3-Iron, South Korea, Kim Ki-duk
Best Actress:Vera Drake, Imelda Staunton
Best Actor:The Sea Inside, Javier Bardem
Marcello Mastroianni Award:Working Slowly, Marco Luisi & Tommaso Ramenghi
Technical Contribution:Howl's Moving Castle, Studio Ghibli (production company)
FIPRESCI Prize:3-Iron, South Korea, dir. Kim Ki-duk
SIGNIS Award:A Long Winter Without Fire, Canada, dir. Greg Zglinski
Venice Horizons Award:The Grand Sons, France, dir. Ilan Duran Cohen
Future Film Festival Digital Award:Collateral, USA, dir. Michael Mann

Competition Films I Have Seen:
Ranked in order of preference
My Golden Lion:
Birth (USA, dir. Jonathan Glazer) - The thrill and obscenity of passionate attachment, framed by pearly but perverse wealth; Kidman, Savides, Desplat are a heroic trio (favorites review)

Palindromes (USA, dir. Todd Solondz) - Solondz finally spits it out: pedophiles suck but so do lots of other ways we over-invest in kids; very precise mood and tension

Kings and Queen (France, dir. Arnaud Desplechin) - Desplechin pours melodramatic and farcical elements into stylistic centrifuge, releasing great energy, just short of spinning apart

Vera Drake (UK, dir. Mike Leigh) - Defers big, aching plot reveal without seeming jerry-rigged, because communal portrait is evocative and detailed; great acting, lensing (full review)

Howl's Moving Castle (Japan, dir. Hayao Miyazaki) - Hard not to equate with the castle: awfully busy and a little rickety, yet it holds together, even enthralls, and is fully its own thing

3-Iron (South Korea, dir. Kim Ki-duk) - Uncanny, prowling POV camera unlinked to any character, yet film feels composited from ideas not fresh enough to linger or fully cohere

5x2 (France, dir. François Ozon) - Ozon's sketchbook cinema continues: another diaphanous idea for a feature, but filming has grace, and Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi has more

Land of Plenty (USA, dir. Wim Wenders) - Symptomatic of Williams' move into low-budget outsider stories and Wenders' drift into aimless drama. Unmemorable.

Vanity Fair (UK/USA, dir. Mira Nair) - Has its moments, but half-assed revisionism makes Becky benignly plucky. Indian overlays could go further. Vague POV.

The Sea Inside (Spain, dir. Alejandro Amenábar) - I just couldn't find the movie; flat camera setups and story structure; begs for maudlin reactions while acting as if it's above them

Competition Films I'm Curious to See:
Ranked in order of interest; more on this year's lineup here (opens in a new window)
The Intruder, France, dir. Claire Denis
The World, China, dir. Jia Zhangke
Café Lumière, Taiwan, dir. Hou Hsiao-hsien
The Keys to the House, Italy, dir. Gianni Amelio
Stray Dogs, Iran, dir. Marziyeh Meshkini
Promised Land, Israel, dir. Amos Gitai
A Long Winter Without Fire, Switzerland, dir. Greg Zglinski
Low Life, South Korea, dir. Im Kwon-taek
Remote Access, Russia, dir. Svetlana Proskurina

Sidebar Films:
Full info not readily available about non-competition screenings. If you've got the scoop, let me know!

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