Brad Pitt Won for Best Actor at Venice Film Festival

pitt-as-jesse-james.jpgUS scores well at world’s oldest film festival

By Jeffrey Jolson for Hollywood Today

HOLLYWOOD, CA (RUSHPRNEWS) September 8, 2007- — After a star-studded and unusually tough competition at the 75th Venice Film Festival, director Ang Lee (“Brokeback Mountain”) has a new Golden Lion for his den as best picture for his latest film, “Lust, Caution.” Brad Pitt won Best Actor shot up the competition for his take on outlaw Jesse James in his new Western, “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.”  Read Hollywood Today

 Cate Blanchett Plays DylanCate Blanchett took home Best Actress for her portrayal of Bob Dylan when he went from acoustic to electric, a very big deal at the time, in Todd Haynes’ “I’m Not There,” which also tied for the Gran Jury Prize. It is a kaleidoscopic biopic of folk icon Dylan in which five actors and an Aussie actress Blanchett — incarnate the phases of his complex life.

Brain De Palma won Best Director for his hard-hitting “Redacted,” a dramatization of the rape and murder of an Iraqi girl by US soldiers. It also took the Future Film Festival Digital Award, for the film that makes the best use of animation or visual effects.

TA Grand Jury Prize also went to French film, “La Graine et Le Mulet” (Grain of Life), a detailed portrait of the life of a Tunisian immigrant family in France, has been the critics’ favourite for the past several days at the world’s oldest festival, which opened August 29.

Festival director Marco Mueller told AFP: “The very original, innovative films that we have shown contradict the widespread image of a monolithic American cinema centred on lazy blockbusters. It’s a nice contribution to cultural diversity to see the dominating machine of American cinema contradicted by these new trends.”

The Venice jury, made up of directors only, is headed by China’s Zhang Yimou and includes Jane Campion of New Zealand, Italy’s Roberto Perpignani, American director Frederick Wiseman, Catherine Breillat of France and Turco-Italian director Ferzan Ozpetek.

Meanwhile, the festival’s first Queer Golden Lion for a film with a gay or trans-gender theme was awarded Friday to the out-of-competition film “Speed of Life” by Ed Radtke, while “Sleuth” won a special mention in the category.

“Speed of Life” is about a down-and-out New York youth who steals videocameras containing revealing home videos, and “Sleuth” briefly presents Caine and Law in a dare-driven homoerotic situation.

The International Week of Film Critics meanwhile accorded top marks to Taiwanese director Lin Jingjie for his “Zui Yaoyuan de Juli” (The Most Distant Course).

Friday also saw a documentary portrait by Jonathan Demme of former US president Jimmy Carter tracking his book tour for “Palestine: Peace not Apartheid,” which unleashed a storm of controversy in the United States.

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