Wilde Salome by Al Pacino has won the fifth annual Queer Lion prize at the 68th annual Venice Film Festival.

The three-person jury announced the winner on Friday. Twelve films competed for the prize that recognizes films with queer elements playing at the festival.

The Pacino documentary was selected “For having crafted an extraordinary, passionate act of love for a genius through a new, dense and complex cinematic language, putting his unique charismatic figure of actor and director at full, complete disposal of Oscar Wilde's body of work; for having traced in a strong, clear way the life, the loves, the success, the fall experienced by the Irish writer, and for having followed every step of the artistic creation of an innovative work – difficult to categorize – with wit and self-deprecating irony.”

During a panel at the festival, Pacino found it difficult to describe Wilde Salome: “I like to say it's a documentary, because it's not a film. But then it's not a documentary, either. So, I'm confused, too. What I tried to do … I wanted to make a kind of collage and put it together like … stuff by the end of it that you get the idea of what I was doing. I wanted to reflect some of who Oscar Wilde was, what he went through, but not intensely. Not like a documentary would do it.” (A trailer for the film is embedded in the right panel of this page.)

In 1891, Wilde wrote the play Salome. Six years later, he was convicted of gross indecency – for being gay – and imprisoned for two years. Wilde is best known for writing The Importance of Being Ernest.