Venice Golden Lion goes to documentary on Rome's GRA

Documentary on Rome's GRA wins top prize at Venice

Gianfranco Rosi's documentary film “Sacro GRA,” which chronicles life along the Grande Raccordo Anulare ringroad that circles Rome, won the Golden Lion for best film at the prestigious Venice Film Festival on 7 September.
The award was significant as it was the first time in its 70 years that the film festival included documentaries in the main competition; it was also the first time an Italian film won the top prize at Venice in 15 years, when Gianni Amelio won for “The Way We Laughed” in 1998.
Describing the award as a breakthrough for documentaries, Rosi said. “It was truly an act of courage, a barrier has been broken. Now finally documentaries are being seen alongside fiction, therefore documentary is cinema.”
The fly-on-the-wall documentary is the result of two years of Rosi driving around the traffic-clogged GRA in a minivan, filming conversations with the diverse people he met along the way. This quirky cross-section of Roman society includes a fisherman, a count, a botanist and a paramedic.

The director dedicated the prize to the characters in his documentary which received a standing ovation during its world premiere in Venice on 5 September.