Guillermo del Toro’s Shape of Water wins Venice Film Festival Golden Lion

The Mexican director Guillermo del Toro has won the top prize at the Venice Film Festival.

Sally Hawkins stars as a cleaning lady with an unusual love interest in The Shape of Water

His dark fairy tale The Shape of Water took the Golden Lion for Best Film at the end of a ten day event that launched a number of films that will be vying for Oscar attention in the New Year.

“If you remain pure and stay with your faith, with what you believe in – in my case, monsters – you can do anything,” he said, collecting his award. He described the unlikely love story, starring Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Octavia Spencer, Richard Jenkins and del Toro regular Doug Jones, as “an antidote to cynicism.”

Israel’s Samuel Maoz won the runner-up Grand Jury prize for the family tragedy Foxtrot.

The Silver Lion for best director went France’s Xavier Legrand for his debut feature Custody, a drama about a bitter divorce between a young boy’s parents.

The veteran British actress Charlotte Rampling was named the best actress for her performance in the Italian film Hannah and the best actor trophy went to the Palestinian Kamel El Basha, for The Insult.