|Golden Lion (Leone d'Oro)|
|Presented by||Venice Film Festival|
The Golden Lion (Italian: Leone d'Oro) is the highest prize given to a film at the Venice Film Festival. The prize was introduced in 1949 by the organizing committee and is now regarded as one of the film industry's most distinguished prizes. In 1970, a second Golden Lion was introduced; this is an honorary award for people who have made an important contribution to cinema.
The prize was introduced in 1949 as the Golden Lion of St. Mark (the winged lion which had appeared on the flag of the Venetian Republic). Previously, the equivalent prize was the Gran Premio Internazionale di Venezia (Grand International Prize of Venice), awarded in 1947 and 1948. Before that, from 1934 until 1942, the highest awards were the Coppa Mussolini (Mussolini Cups) for Best Italian Film and Best Foreign Film.
No Golden Lions were awarded between 1969 and 1979. According to the Biennale's official website, this hiatus was a result of the 1968 Lion being awarded to the radically experimental Die Artisten in der Zirkuskuppel: Ratlos; the website says that the awards "still had a statute dating back to the fascist era and could not side-step the general political climate. Sixty-eight produced a dramatic fracture with the past."
Grand International Prize of Venice
|1946||The Southerner||Jean Renoir|
14 French films have been awarded the Golden Lion, more than that of any other nation. However, there is considerable geographical diversity in the winners. Five American filmmakers have won the Golden Lion, with awards for John Cassavetes and Robert Altman (both times the awards were shared with other winners who tied), as well as Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain was the first winning US film not to tie), Darren Aronofsky and Sofia Coppola.
Although prior to 1980, only 3 of 21 winners were of non-European origins, since the 1980s, the Golden Lion has been presented to a number of Asian filmmakers, particularly in comparison to the Cannes Film Festival's top prize, the Palme d'Or, which has only been awarded to five Asian filmmakers since 1980. The Golden Lion, by contrast, has been awarded to ten Asians during the same time period, with two of these filmmakers winning it twice. Ang Lee won the Golden Lion twice within three years during the 2000s, once for an American film and once for a Chinese-language film. Zhang Yimou has also won twice. Other Asians to win the Golden Lion since 1980 include Jia Zhangke, Hou Hsiao-hsien, Tsai Ming-liang, Anh Hung Tran, Takeshi Kitano, Kim Ki-Duk, Jafar Panahi, and Mira Nair. Russian filmmakers have also won the Golden Lion several times, including since the end of the USSR.
Still, to date 33 of the 54 winners were European men (including Soviet/Russian winners). Since 1949 only four women have ever won the Golden Lion for directing: Mira Nair, Sofia Coppola, German Margarethe von Trotta and Belgium's Agnès Varda. In comparison to the other major Western European festivals, the Berlinale's Golden Bear has also been awarded to four women. In the history of Cannes, only one woman filmmaker has been awarded the Palme d'Or.
*denotes first win
Golden Lion Honorary Award
- Leone d’Argento (Silver Lion)
- Palme d'Or, the highest prize awarded at the Cannes Film Festival
- Golden Bear, the highest prize awarded at the Berlin Film Festival
- "Biennale Cinema History of the Venice Film Festival: The Forties and Fifties". La Biennale di Venezia. 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-28.
- "Biennale Cinema History of the Venice Film Festival: The Sixties and Seventies". La Biennale di Venezia. 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-28.
- Due to a tie between Harp of Burma by Kon Ichikawa and Calle Mayor by Juan Antonio Bardem. See Roos, Fred. "Venice Film Festival, 1956" in The Quarterly of Film Radio and Television, Vol. 11, No. 3. (Spring, 1957), p. 249.
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