Venice 2015: ‘From Afar’ wins Golden Lion

The red carpet has been walked upon, the Spritz has been supped and the lion has roared. This year’s Golden Lion selection is yet another surprise choice, the perfectly serviceable but by no means extraordinary Venezuelan-set drama From Afar, which follows the unlikely relationship between a maker of false teeth and a Caracas street tough. Lorenzo Vigas’ film is an assured debut with two fine performances, especially from Alfredo Castro, familiar to world cinema-inclined audiences as Pablo Larraín’s muse in Tony Manero and Post Mortem. Head of the Jury Alfonso Cuarón perhaps shows his generosity to another Latin American filmmaker in awarding the Silver Lion to Pablo Trapero for his Martin Scorsese-inspired true crime thriller The Clan.

The runner-up award in the Grand Jury was awarded to Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson for their superb R-rated stop motion masterpiece Anomalisa, for me the best film of the competition. Actor gongs (Volpi Cups) go to Italian Valeria Golino and Frenchman Fabrice Luchini, both of whom outshined their own films but were well-deserved. Luchini’s film Courted also picked up Best Screenplay and Abraham Attah picked up Best Newcomer for his turn as the child warrior in Cary Fukuyama’s Beasts of No Nation. In the Orizzonti sidebar, Best Debut and Best Director both went to Brady Corbet’s stellar The Childhood of a Leader and the Best Film award to Jake Mahaffy’s Free in Deed.

Golden Lion
From Afar, dir Lorenzo Vigas

Silver Lion, Best Director
Pablo Trapero, The Clan
Grand Jury Prize
Anomalisa, dir. Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson
Volpi Cup, Best Actor
Fabrice Luchini, Courted
Volpi Cup, Best Actress
Valeria Golino, For Your Love
Best New Young Actor or Actress
Abraham Attah, Beasts of No Nation
Best Screenplay
Christian Vincent, Courted
Special Jury Prize
Frenzy, dir. Emin Alper
Orizzonti Best Film
Free In Deed, dir. Jake Mahaffy
Orizzonti Best Director
Brady Corbet, The Childhood of a Leader
Orizzonti Special Jury Prize
Neon Bull, dir: Gabriel Mascaro
Orizzonti Special Prize for Best Actor or Actress
Dominique Leborne, Tempête
Orizzonti Best Short Film
Belladonna, dir. Dubravka Turic

The 72nd Venice Film Festival takes place from 2-12 September 2015. For more coverage, follow this link.

John Bleasdale | @drjonty