Italian director Gianfranco Rosi’s documentary Sacro GRA has taken out the hotly contested Golden Lion Award at the 2013 Venice Film Festival.
The film had not been considered a front-runner for the prize, and much of the critical buzz had instead been focused on higher profile films such as Alfonso Cuaron’s festival-opener Gravity.
The quirky documentary was filmed during a two year stint the director spent circling Rome’s ring road in a minivan. Utilising off-beat camera work, Rosi delved into the lives of a paramedic, a botanist and a selection of diverse characters living along the ring road of the Italian capital.
It is the first Italian film to win the Golden Lion since 1998, and the first ever documentary to be awarded the top prize.