Last night in Rome, the Festival came to a close, as the winners were announced, the awards handed out and the dissection of What It All Means began. The festival, suffering a cut in budget from last year, but boasting perhaps the closest thing to a superstar Artistic Director in Marco Mueller (ex of the Venice Film Festival) for the first time this year, was, as Mueller himself admitted, a schizophrenic affair. The lack of really standout high-profile premieres (the festival would have taken on a different shape if it had landed, say "Django Unchained") gave rise to a somewhat cobbled-together last-minute feel, in which the targeted 60 world premieres happened, but we got the feeling quite a few might have been there just to make up the numbers.
The Italian contingent of films did best of any particular national cinema, though some of the bigger prizes went to two U.S. films.The Jury, chaired by Jeff Nichols and comprising Timur Bekmambetov, Valentina Cervi, Edgardo Cozarinsky, Chris Fujiwara, Leila Hatami and P.J. Hogan, a little surprisingly, gave the top honor to Larry Clark's "Marfa Girl" which we reviewed here — we liked it, but more for the promising new elements Clark seemed to be incorporating into his style than as a fully realized film. The other U.S. film to make a splash was not Roman Coppola's "A Glimpse Into the Mind of Charles Swan III" as some had predicted (pre-screening, admittedly) but instead Gabe and Alan Polsky's "The Motel Life," which took the Screenplay award in the main show, and also picked up the editing award elsewhere and the Audience Award, voted for by a natty electronic system. It's a film we really liked, so we're glad to point out that its three awards make it probably the most individually successful film of the festival.
Back in the main competition, the rest of the awards went largely to Italian films, most controversially to the sexually frank "And they Call It Summer," Paolo Franchi's film about a man's addiction to sex with prostitutes, which won him Best Director and his star Best Actress. But when Isabella Ferrari took the stage to accept her award, cries of "Shame" and boos rang out from the audience. We like to think they were just name checking the film's apparently closest U.S counterpart (Steve McQueen's "Shame"), because really, what kind of asshole does that? Ferrari was visibly upset, but thanked the jury for recognizing a "brave" film.
Less controversial was the Best Actor prize, which went to the adorable Jérémie Elkaïm for "Main dans la Main" (read our review), and the Special Jury Prize for "Ali Has Blue Eyes," a film that also took the best debut crown, awarded by a separate jury headed by Matthew Modine. Elsewhere Feng Xiaogang's impressive Chinese epic "1942" picked up a Cinematography award and the Golden Butterfly award, which is voted for by students. The full list of winners is below, and we'll have further coverage and interviews from the U.S. winners over the next couple of days.
Golden Marc’Aurelio for Best Film: "Marfa Girl" by Larry Clark
Best Director Award: Paolo Franchi, "And They Call It Summer" ("E la Chiamano Estate")
Special Jury Prize: "Ali Has Blue Eyes" ("Alì ha gli occhi azzurri") by Claudio Giovannesi
Best Actor Award: Jérémie Elkaïm, "Hand in Hand" ("Main dans la main")
Best Actress Award: Isabella Ferrari, "And They Call It Summer" ("E la Chiamano Estate")
Best Emerging Actor Award: Marilyne Fontaine, "A Child With You" ("Un enfant de toi")
Best Technical Contribution: Arnau Valls Colomer, for the cinematography of "Never Die" ("Mai morire")
Best Screenplay Award: Noah Harpster and Micah Fitzerman-Blue for "The Motel Life"
The International Jury, chaired by Douglas Gordon and composed of Hans Hurch, Ed Lachman, Andrea Lissoni and Emily Jacir, awarded:
CinemaXXI Award (for feature-length films): "Avanti Popolo" by Michael Wahrmann
Special Jury Prize – CinemaXXI (for feature-length films): "Picas" by Laila Pakalnina
CinemaXXI Award for Short and Medium Films: "Panihida" by Ana-Felicia Scutelnicu
PROSPETTIVE ITALIA COMPETITION
The Jury chaired by Francesco Bruni and composed of Babak Karimi, Anna Negri, Stefano Savona, and Zhao Tao awarded:
Prospettive Award for Best Feature Film: "Cosimo e Nicole" by Francesco Amato
Prospettive Award for Best Documentary: "Pezzi" by Luca Ferrari
Prospettive Award for Best Short Film: "Il gatto del Maine" by Antonello Schioppa
Special mentions: Cosimo Cinieri and in memory of Anna Orso for "La prima legge di Newton"
THE AWARD FOR BEST DEBUT/ SECOND FILM
The International Jury, chaired by Matthew Modine and composed of Laura Amelia Guzmán, Stefania Rocca, Alice Rohrwacher and Tanya Seghatchian, awarded:
Award for Best Debut Or Second Film: "Ali Has Blue Eyes" ("Alì ha gli occhi azzurri") by Claudio Giovannesi
Special mention: "Razzabastarda" by Alessandro Gassman
BNL Audience Award for Best Film: "The Motel Life" by Gabriel Polsky, Alan Polsky
LANCIA 2012 ELEGANCE IN MOTION AWARD Claudia Pandolfi
ENEL CUORE FOR SOCIAL CINEMA AWARD "The Eye of the Shark" ("El ojo del tiburón") by Alejo Hoijman
L.A.R.A. (LIBERA ASSOCIAZIONE RAPPRESENTANZA DI ARTISTI) AWARD FOR BEST ITALIAN ACTOR Paolo Sassanelli for "Cosimo e Nicole"
A.I.C. AWARD FOR THE BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY Lü Yue for "1942"
AMC AWARD FOR BEST EDITING Hughes Winborne and Fabienne Rawley for "The Motel Life"
Lifetime Achievement Award to Nino Baragli
GOLDEN BUTTERFLY AWARD (voted by students) "1942" by Feng Xiaogang
TAODUE LA CAMERA D’ORO 2012 AWARD FOR BEST EMERGING DIRECTOR AND BEST PRODUCER
Best Emerging Director – Alina Marazzi for "Tutto parla di te"
Best Producer – Gianfilippo Pedote for "Tutto parla di te"