South Korean film "Pieta" directed by Kim Ki-duk won the Golden Lion for Best Film at the 69th Venice International Film Festival, Xinhua reported.
"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.
Explaining his film, Kim Ki-duk said: "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."
When awarded the top prize, the 52-year-old director sang a folk song, which earned warm applause from the audience at 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 nine-person jury this year was headed by US director, screenwriter and producer Michael Mann.
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 to 23 last year.
The film festival, this year celebrating its 80th anniversary, ran from Aug 29 to Sep 8 on the Lido seafront in Venice.