Venice 2011: Al Pacino's 'Wilde Salome,' Roman Polanski's 'Carnage' Win Awards


The main prizes at the film festival will be handed out on Saturday.

ROME – Al Pacino’s Wilde Salome, an exploration into the life of poet Oscar Wilde that featured many scenes of Pacino himself on the silver screen and on stage, was given the Queer Lion award at the Venice Film Festival Friday as the best portrayal of a gay character, while Presume Coupable (Guilty) from French director Vincent Garenq won the prize as the best film in the Venice Days sidebar.

Meanwhile, Carnage, the Roman Polanski adaptation of the Yasmina Reza play of the same name was given the 23rd Leoncino prize handed out by local school kids.

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The main prizes will be handed out in Venice on Saturday, and the Queer Lion, Venice Days award and the Leoncino were among the prizes handed out on the festival’s penultimate day.

The Leoncino has picked the winner of the winner of the festival’s main Golden Lion prize six times in the last 19 years. The prize – the name literally means “Little Lion” – are voted on by Venice area students who see all the in competition films.

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Polanski’s film tells the story of two couples who meet and eventually clash after one of their sons injures the other son.

The Queer Lion prize went to Pacino’s unusual auto-documentary based on Wilde’s play Salome. The play twists together Pacino’s pown performances with other footage from the play in an ambitious homage to the iconic 19th Century playwrite.

In awarding the prize, Queer Lion jury members called the film “a dense and complex and passionate act of love toward a genius.”

Presume Coupable, Garenq’s second full-length feature film, is a noir thriller based on the true story of a couple incorrectly accused of pedophilia. The film is based indirectly on the prison diary of the father, a bailiff.

In explaining its decision, the Venice days jury called the film a Kafkaesque nightmare” that is “stunning from beginning to end … a raw and personal history that challenges our confidence in the justice system.”

The Venice Days sidebar, now in its 8th edition, is Venice’s autonomous sidebar that focuses on first and second works from up and coming directors.

The main prizes in Venice – including the Golden Lion for Best Film, the Silver Lions for best actor and actress, and the prizes from the main festival sidebars will all be announced Saturday in a gala ceremony in the Lido’s Sala Grande venue.