Actress and singer Deanie Ip Tak-han has become the first Chinese actor to be honoured at the Venice Film Festival, after taking the best actress prize for her role in A Simple Life, Hong Kong director Ann Hui On-wah's story of an ageing domestic servant's relationship with her master across five generations.
The role marked 63 year-old Ip's return to the screen after an absence of 10 years.
In other Venice awards announced on September 10, Michael Fassbender received the best actor award for his role in Steve McQueen's Shame, as a 30-something man with an instatiable sex life whose world is upended by the arrival of his wayward sister (played by Carey Mulligan). McQueen's film – the director's second feature after 2009's Hunger – which also starred Fassbender - also received the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI) award for best film at the Festival.
Russian director Alexander Sokurov's loose interpretation of the German legend of the man who sells his soul to the Devil, Faust, took out the prestigious Golden Lion, beating the hot favourite, Tomas Alfredson's Tinker, Taylor, Soldier, Spy.
Venice Film Festival Jury chair Darren Aronofsky said of the decision to award the prize to Faust: "There are some awards that make you cry, there are some films that make you laugh, there are some films that change you forever after you see them, and thisis one of them."
Shame was produced by Oscar-winning Australian/UK production company, See-Saw Films, whose principals Iain Canning and Emile Sherman won the 2011 Oscar for best film with The King's Speech. Transmission Films will distribute Shame in Australia and New Zealand in early 2012.
The full list of Venice Film festival award winners is as follows:
GOLDEN LION for Best Film: FAUST by Aleksander SOKUROV (Russia)
SILVER LION for Best Director to: Shangjun CAI for the film REN SHAN REN HAI (PEOPLE MOUNTAIN PEOPLE SEA) (China - Hong Kong)
SPECIAL JURY PRIZE to: TERRAFERMA by Emanuele CRIALESE (Italy)
COPPA VOLPI for Best Actor: Michael FASSBENDER in the film SHAME by Steve MCQUEEN (Great Britain)
COPPA VOLPI for Best Actress: Deanie YIP in the film TAO JIE (A SIMPLE LIFE) by Ann HUI (China - Hong Kong)
MARCELLO MASTROIANNI AWARD for Best Young Actor or Actress to: Shôta SOMETANI and Fumi NIKAIDÔ in the film HIMIZU by Sion SONO (Japan)
OSELLA for Best Cinematography to: Robbie RYAN for the film WUTHERING HEIGHTS by Andrea ARNOLD (Great Britain)
OSELLA for Best Screenplay to: Yorgos LANTHIMOS and Efthimis FILIPPOU for the film ALPIS (ALPS) by Yorgos LANTHIMOS (Greece)
LION OF THE FUTURE – “LUIGI DE LAURENTIIS” VENICE AWARD FOR A DEBUT FILM to: LÀ-BAS by Guido LOMBARDI (Italy)