VENICE, Italy, Sept. 8 (Xinhua) -- South Korean film "Pieta" directed by Kim Ki-duk won the Golden Lion for Best Film at the 69th Venice International Film Festival on Saturday.
"Pieta," starring Cho Min-soo and Lee Jung-jin, depicts the relationship between a young loan shark and a mysterious woman claiming to be his mother.
"Pieta," meaning "pity" in Italian, refers to an artistic style of a sculpture or painting that depicts the Virgin Mary sorrowfully cradling the dead body of Jesus.
"Money is the problem for most of the incidents that occur today. In this film, two people who give and receive pain over money, unlikely to meet, come across each other and become family," said Kim in explaining his film.
When awarded the top prize, the 52-year-old director sang a folk song, which earned warm applause from the audience of the closing ceremony hosted by Polish-born actress and model Kasia Smutniak.
The Silver Lion for Best Director went to American film director Paul Thomas Anderson for his film "The Master," a story inspired by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard.
The film's two actors Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix shared the Coppa Volpi award for best actor.
Israel's Hadas Yaron won the Coppa Volpi award for best actress for her appearance in "Lemale Et Ha'Chalal (Fill the Void)."
The nine-person jury this year was headed by U.S. director, screenwriter and producer Michael Mann and included Hong Kong director Peter Chan.
A total of 60 films were screened this year, 50 of which were world premieres. Only 18 films vied for the Gold Lion, the top prize in Venice, compared with the number of 23 last year.
To the disappointment of many, no Chinese-language films entered the slimmed-down in-competition lineup at the world's oldest film festival.
The Venice film festival, this year celebrating its 80th anniversary, ran from Aug. 29 to Sept. 8 on the Lido seafront in Venice.