“Poor Things,” directed by Yorgos Lanthimos, was awarded the Golden Lion for best film at the 80th Venice International Film Festival on Saturday by a competition jury led by Damien Chazelle. The film stars Emma Stone in a virtuoso performance as a woman with an initially childlike understanding of the world who comes into her own through a sexual and philosophical journey.

Bella Baxter, the main character in the film, “wouldn’t exist without Emma Stone,” Lanthimos said. “This film is her, in front of and behind the camera.” Stone previously collaborated with Lanthimos on “The Favourite,” which won the Grand Jury Prize at the festival in 2018.

Like many other actors in films screened at the festival, Stone was not in attendance, as the strike by SAG-AFTRA, the union that represents television and movie actors, continued.

Set in a partly fantastical 19th-century Europe, “Poor Things” follows Bella (Stone) on her eye-opening adventures in Tony McNamara’s…