Russian filmmaker Alexander Sokurov won the Golden Lion award at the Venice film festival on Saturday for "Faust," a visceral take on Goethe's play about a man who sells his soul to the devil.
The grotesque film is the final instalment of Sokurov's cinematic tetralogy on the nature of power, following his acclaimed fictional portraits of Adolf Hitler, Vladimir Lenin and Emperor Hirohito.
Sokurov is the second Russian director ever to win the Golden Lion, after it was awarded to Andrei Zviaguintsev for The Return in 2003.
The Silver Lion award for best director went to China's Cai Shangjun for "People Mountain People Sea", this year's surprise addition to the festival line-up.
Best actor went to German-born Irishman Michael Fassbender, who plays an emotionally dysfunctional executive addicted to sex in Steve McQueen's Shame, while best actress went to Deanie Yip for her portrayal of an elderly domestic helper in A Simple Life.
Italian immigration movie Terraferma, directed by Emanuele Crialese, picked up the special jury award.