VENICE, Italy, Sept. 8 (Xinhua) -- The 69th Venice International Film Festival wound up on Saturday, with South Korean film "Pieta" directed by Kim Ki-duk scooping the Gold Lion, Venice's top prize.
"Pieta," starring Cho Min-soo and Lee Jung-jin, depicts the relationship between a young loan shark and a mysterious woman claiming to be his mother.
The Silver Lion for Best Director went to American director Paul Thomas Anderson for his film "The Master," a story inspired by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard.
The film's two actors Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix shared the Coppa Volpi award for best actor.
Israel's Hadas Yaron won the Coppa Volpi award for best actress for her appearance in "Lemale Et Ha'Chalal (Fill the Void)."
The Special Jury Prize was awarded to "Paradies: Glaube" (Paradise: Faith) by Austrian director Ulrich Seidl.
FESTIVAL OF QUALITY
This year's festival aimed for quality rather than quantity, said the new festival director Alberto Barbera.
He trimmed the number of movies vying for the Golden Lion prize to just 18, compared with the number of 23 last year. The overall selection is also reduced to just 60 films, about half the offerings in previous years.
The new director has also brought about some other changes to the world's oldest film festival.
Young filmmakers were in the spotlight and a number of productions by new filmmakers were included in the Orizzonti (Horizon) section.
"Biennale College - Cinema" was launched during this year's festival as an advanced workshop open to young filmmakers from around the world for the development and production of micro-budget audio-visual works.
Barbera also opened up a small film market to help Venice go commercial, a concept hard to accept for a lot of art movie fans.
As another invention for the festival, films could be viewed online for a fee this year.
DIMINISHED CHINESE PRESENCE
To the disappointment of many, Chinese-language films dropped out the top rungs for the first time in 10 years at the world's oldest film festival.
But three Chinese-language films still won acclaim among 18 feature films and 15 short films competing in the Orizzonti section.
They are "Gao Su Ta Men, Wo Cheng Bai He Qu Le" ("Fly With the Crane") by Li Ruijun, San zimei (Three Sisters) by Wang Bing, Jingang jing (Diamond Sutra) by Tsai Ming-liang.
Not entering the main competition section does not mean Chinese films have been going downhill, said Hong Kong director Peter Chan, who was on a jury headed by U.S. producer Michael Mann to pick up the main competition prizes at the festival.
As the foreign audience knows increasingly better about China, Chinese directors need to explore new subjects to touch the audience, he told Xinhua.
In explaining the diminished presence of Chinese films, Barbera used the word "coincidence." He said he was sure that the next festival would see a more shining China, including in the main competition session. Under Barbera's predecessor Marco Mueller, Chinese film makers have witnessed their best years at Venice, with multiple Golden Lions won by directors like Ang Lee, Zhang Yimou, Jia Zhangke and Hsiao-hsien Hou.
The Venice film festival, this year celebrating its 80th anniversary, had its 69th edition from Aug. 29 to Sept. 8 on the Lido seafront in Venice.