A big day for topics that the people in your Twitter replies resolutely will not shut the fuck up about today, as the Venice Film Festival handed out major awards to Todd Phillips’ Joker and Roman Polanski’s An Officer And A Spy. Phillips’ Scorsese-aping comic book noir—which has drawn praise for Joaquin Phoenix’s performance, and quiet sighs of despair from the already-strained lash-backlash industry—took home the festival’s big prize, the Golden Lion, while Polanski’s new movie picked up the Grand Jury award.
Joker reportedly received an 8-minute standing ovation after its world premiere at the festival, which we have to imagine had to start feeling awkward after, what, the first 90 seconds? (“We’re still clapping?” “The clown was just so mad!”) Critics have praised several aspects of the movie, while also expressing concern that it’s going to be Fight Club all over again with this thing, in terms of dumb teenage boys taking the movie’s charismatic but psychologically damaged hero as some kind of screwed-up role model.
Polanski, meanwhile, is a Venice favorite, having received a lifetime achievement award from the festival in the 1990s, despite some of the things said lifetime has been accused of achieving. His new film is a recreation and exploration of France’s infamous Dreyfuss affair, in which a man of supposedly impeccable character was hounded by both the press and an oppressive government into a life of ignominy and exile, and no, we don’t know why Roman Polanski would want to make a movie about this particular topic, at all.
Other, less reply-guy-friendly winners at this year’s festival include Roy Andersson’s About Endlessness (taking home the Silver Lion), while Ariane Ascaride and Luca Marinelli took home the awards for best actress and actor, respectively.