FESTIVALS: Kurosawa, Tamhane win big at Venice Film Festival

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Japanese filmmaker Kiyoshi Kurosawa won best director at this year’s Venice film festival for period drama Wife Of A Spy, while India’s Chaitanya Tamhane took best screenplay for The Disciple. 

Set in early 1940s Japan, Kurosawa’s film tells the story of a couple who become embroiled in an international whistle-blowing conspiracy at the outbreak of the Second World War. Yu Aoi, Issey Takahashi and Masahiro Higashide head the cast of the film, which Kurosawa co-wrote with Ryusuke Hamaguchi (Asako I & II) and Tadashi Nohara.

The Disciple, which was executive produced by Alfonso Cuaron, revolves around a student of classical Hindustani singing. Tamhane’s first film, Court, premiered in the Horizons section of Venice in 2014, where it won best film and the Luigi De Laurentiis Award. 

Chloe Zhao’s Nomadland, starring Frances McDormand as a woman drifting around the American Midwest, won Venice’s top prize, the Golden Lion, while the Grand Jury Prize went to Michel Franco’s Mexican-French co-production, New Order (see full list of Venice winners below). 



Golden Lion – Nomadland (US), dir. Chloé Zhao

Silver Lion Grand Jury Prize – New Order (Mexico, France), dir. Michel Franco

Silver Lion best director – Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Wife Of A Spy (Japan) 

Special Jury Prize – Dear Comrades! (Russia), dir. Andrei Konchalovsky

Best screenplay – Chaitanya Tamhane, The Disciple (India) 

Best actress – Vanessa Kirby, Pieces Of A Woman (US-Canada)

Best actor – Pierfrancesco Favino, Padrenostro (Italy)

Marcello Mastroianni award for best young actor or actress – Rouhollah Zamani, Sun Children (Iran)


Best film – The Wasteland (Iran), dir. Ahmad Bahrami

Best director –  Lav Diaz, Genus Pan (Philippines) 

Special jury prize – Listen (UK, Portugal), dir. Ana Rocha de Sousa

Best screenplay – Pietro Castellitto, I Predatori

Best actress – Khansa Batma, Zanka Contact

Best actor – Yahya Mahayni, The Man Who Sold His Skin

Lion of the Future ‘Luigi De Laurentis’ award for debut film – Listen (UK, Portugal) dir. Ana Rocha de Sousa