ByRory O'Connor, writer at
Breathing movies. Humbly writing about them.
Rory O'Connor

The Vaparetto induced land-sickness (or whatever you call it) begins to take hold as we come to the end of our week on the Lido. The competition films have proved a challenging bunch but the standard, for the most part, has been high. It might have lacked that much sought after life-affirming moment but it also managed to fend off any all-out stinkers too.

Roy Andersson walked away with a much deserved Golden Lion this weekend for his masterful absurdest comedy A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence and Adam Driver and Alba Rohrwacher provided the night's surprise package, nabbing the two acting accolades for their work on Hungry Hearts. Birdman left with nothing. Here's a full breakdown plus, far more importantly, our very own top five.

Here it goes...

Award Night Breakdown:

The Golden Lion:

A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence (Roy Andersson, Sweden)

Silver Lion (Best Director):

The Postman’s White Nights (Andrei Konchalovsky, Russia)

Jury Grand Prize

The Look Of Silence (Joshua Oppenheimer, Denmark, Finland, Indonesia, Norway, U.K.)

Volpi Cup for Best Actor/Actress:

Adam Driver & Alba Rohrwacher (Hungry Hearts)

The Top 5:

Honorable Mentions:

As both are films about film making, It seemed a touch unfair to include these fine documentaries amongst the features which screened. That said, they were still some of the best efforts on show.

From Caligari to Hitler (Ruediger Suchsland)

From Caligari to Hitler tracks the German Weimar cinema of the 1920's and, by examining those films, attempts to find psychological evidence of the horrors which would follow.

One Day since Yesterday: Peter Bogdanovich and The Lost American Film (Bill Teck)

Bill Teck's terrific documentary on Peter Bogdanovich pivots a detailed account of the director's professional on the tragedy which occurred while shooting While They Laughed.

As Impassioned as they are insightful; be sure to seek 'em out.

5. Loin Des Hommes

David Oelhoffen

Viggo breaks out the Français for this classic Western take on the Algerian war. Mortenson, it must be said, was robbed of the best actor gong. Nick Cave and Warren Ellis provide the appropriate wailing tunes.

4. Nobi (Fire on the Plain)

Shinya Tsukamoto

The legendary cyberpunk director of the Tetsuo films returns with a hyper-real remake of Ichikawa's 1959 classic concerning the Japanese retreat at the end of World War II. Violent; visceral; completely bananas.

3. Hungry Hearts

Saverio Costanzo

The Italian director takes Alba Rohrwacher to New York to fall in love with Adam Driver and lose her mind. The acting and aesthetic are so fiendishly enchanting you hardly notice that Costanzo subverting American independent cinema's most prevalent cliche.

2. Birdman

Alejandro González Iñárritu

Opening the festival on a wave of eye watering hype, Iñárritu delivered his finest film to date. An anxiety attack inducing, single shot experience which boasts not only dazzling technical prowess but also a wonderful, resurgent Michael Keaton.

1. A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence

Roy Andersson

The best of the festival goes on to win the top prize, now why doesn't that happen more often? Andersson's mad absurdest comedy manages to be both hilariously funny and often sublime. He's 71 years old. He averages a film every seven years. Good for him.

So that just about wraps it up for the European festival circuit for 2014 (sorry London, no offense). We expect Birdman to feature across the board as awards season progresses so lets hope some of these other gems get a look in too.

Thanks for tuning in!


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