Mexican film director Alfonso Cuarón won the top award at the Venice Film Festival today, the second consecutive win for a Mexican filmmaker.
Cuarón won the Golden Lion for his film Roma, which was a big hit at the festival, topping Italian critics’ lists and getting glowing reviews, Variety reported today, dispelling any suspicion that favoritism might have influenced the choice.
The jury was headed by Guillermo del Toro, the Mexican director who won the Golden Lion last year for The Shape of Water. He was the first Mexican to win the award.
Roma is a black-and-white drama based on Cuarón’s memories of growing up in Mexico City in the 1970s and is centered around two indigenous domestic workers who take care of a small family in the middle-class neighborhood of Roma.
Critics have almost unanimously described the Spanish-language film as “shimmering” due to its cinematography, Reuters reported.
Todd McCarthy of the Hollywood Reporter said the film contains “some of the most luxuriantly beautiful black and white images you’ve ever seen.”
Today’s win in Venice is also a victory for Netflix, which has purchased the distribution rights. There was a debate earlier this year between the streaming company and the Cannes Film Festival, which has a rule that to enter the Cannes competition a film must be released in French theaters and cannot be available on streaming platforms until three years later.
Netflix refused to go along with the rule and decided that no Netflix-backed productions will go to the Cannes festival next month.
There has been speculation this week that Roma could become a nominee for best picture at the Academy Awards. Only 10 foreign-language films have been nominated for the award in the history of the Oscars.
Cuarón won best director in 2014 for Gravity, which received 10 nominations.
Del Toro won best picture and best director for The Shape of Water at this year’s Oscars.