Judi Dench’s ‘Philomena’ Beaten by Documentary in Venice

Source: Venice Film Festival via Bloomberg.

A scene from "Sacro GRA" directed by Gianfranco Rosi. The documentary, filmed for two years on Rome's extensive ring road, won the Venice Film Festival's top 2013 award, the Golden Lion. Close

A scene from "Sacro GRA" directed by Gianfranco Rosi. The documentary, filmed for two... Read More

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Source: Venice Film Festival via Bloomberg.

A scene from "Sacro GRA" directed by Gianfranco Rosi. The documentary, filmed for two years on Rome's extensive ring road, won the Venice Film Festival's top 2013 award, the Golden Lion.

“Sacro GRA,” a documentary filmed by Gianfranco Rosi on Rome’s lengthy ring road, won the Venice Film Festival’s Golden Lion award last night, defeating Stephen Frears’s “Philomena” starring Judi Dench.

“Philomena” -- popular with Venice reviewers -- walked away with the best screenplay award. The script was co-written by the film’s co-star Steve Coogan and by Jeff Pope.

The best director prize went to Greek director Alexandros Avranas for “Miss Violence,” a story of domestic abuse that opens with an 11-year-old girl jumping to her death on her birthday.

It was one of two prizes for the film, whose male lead Themis Panou won the best-actor trophy.

The best actress prize -- which many critics thought would go to Dench’s portrayal of an Irish woman in search of her long-lost son -- rewarded Italy’s Elena Cotta, for her role in “Via Castellana Bandiera,” directed by Emma Dante.

The Grand Jury Prize went to Tsai Ming-liang for “Stray Dogs,” about an impoverished father and his two children who roam the streets of Taipei and its outskirts in a struggle for survival.

The Special Jury Prize went to another tale of domestic violence: “The Police Officer’s Wife,” directed by Germany’s Philip Groening.

Photographer: Alex Bailey/Pathe Productions Limited/British Broadcasting Corporation/British Film Institute/Philomena Lee Limited/Venice Film Festival via Bloomberg

Judi Dench and Steve Coogan as Philomena Lee and Martin Sixsmith in Stephen Frears's "Philomena." About a mother forcibly separated from her son, the film is in competition at the 2013 Venice Film Festival. Close

Judi Dench and Steve Coogan as Philomena Lee and Martin Sixsmith in Stephen Frears's... Read More

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Photographer: Alex Bailey/Pathe Productions Limited/British Broadcasting Corporation/British Film Institute/Philomena Lee Limited/Venice Film Festival via Bloomberg

Judi Dench and Steve Coogan as Philomena Lee and Martin Sixsmith in Stephen Frears's "Philomena." About a mother forcibly separated from her son, the film is in competition at the 2013 Venice Film Festival.

The only U.S. contestant to win one of the main Venice awards this year was 16-year-old Tye Sheridan. He took the Marcello Mastroianni Prize given to young actors for his role as Nicolas Cage’s co-star in “Joe’’ (directed by David Gordon Green).

To contact the writer on the story: Farah Nayeri in London at farahn@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff at mhoelterhoff@bloomberg.net.

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