Sweden's Andersson wins Golden Lion at Venice fest

  • Director Andrej Koncalovskij shows his Silver Lion Saturday for best director for the movie The Postman's White Nights during the awards ceremony of the 71th edition of the Venice Film Festival in Venice, Italy.

    Director Andrej Koncalovskij shows his Silver Lion Saturday for best director for the movie The Postman's White Nights during the awards ceremony of the 71th edition of the Venice Film Festival in Venice, Italy. Associated Press

 
Associated Press

VENICE, Italy -- Sweden's Roy Andersson won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival on Saturday for his absurdist feature "A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence."

His film -- a series of bleakly comic vignettes -- had some critics in raptures but left others scratching their heads. Set in a drab modern Sweden with occasional bursts of surrealism and song, it loosely follows two sad-sacks trying unsuccessfully to sell vampire teeth and other jokey novelties.

Andersson said earlier in the week that his goal was to find poetry in the banal. Accepting his award, voted by a jury led by composer Alexandre Desplat, Andersson cited the Italian neorealist masterpiece "Bicycle Thieves" as a film that had greatly influenced him.

The festival's Silver Lion for best director went to Russia's Andrei Konchalovksy for near-silent drama "The Postman's White Nights."

Rising Hollywood star Adam Driver and Italian actress Alba Rohrwacher took the acting prizes for playing a couple whose transition to parenthood goes chillingly wrong in "Hungry Hearts."

Joshua Oppenheimer's powerful documentary about the legacy of Indonesian massacres, "The Look of Silence," won the Grand Jury Prize.

The jury gave a screenplay award to "Tales," a series of stories set in Tehran by Iranian director Rakhshan Bani-Etemad, and a special prize for Turkish director Kaan Mujdeci's "Sivas," a drama about a neglected boy who forms a bond with a fighting dog.

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