Belgian euthanasia comedy wins Rome film festival

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Belgium's "Kill Me Please", a black comedy about euthanasia shot by French director Olias Barco, won the Golden Marc'Aurelio best film award at the Rome film festival on Friday.

The film tells the life of Dr. Kruger who wants to turn suicide into a simple, medically assisted act. His clinic attracts a strange cast including a a travelling salesman, a rich Luxembourg heir and an old Berlin cabaret singer.

"It's a film to have fun but also to talk about the big question of death," transsexual actor Zazie de Paris, who plays the cabaret singer Madame Rachel, told reporters at the film's showing earlier this week.

"The film discusses a political question. Usually we talk about euthanasia only when we're talking about terminal illnesses, but this is a much more controversial and personal perspective," he added.

The film is based on Dignitas, a Swiss group that allows people with severe illnesses to die assisted by qualified doctors and nurses.

The organisation was set up in 1998 by Swiss lawyer Ludwig Minelli.

The Marc'Aurelio Grand Jury Award went to Denmark's "Haevnen", a film shown by director Susanne Bier about a doctor who returns home to a quiet and dreary small Danish town from Sudan, where he works in a refugee camp.

The film has been accused by the Sudanese government of being anti-Islamic and its version of the Darfur conflict has been disputed.

The best actress award went jointly to the entire female cast of "Las Buenas Hierbas", a Mexican film about a grandmother diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease who asks for her daughter to help her before she loses her mind.

The best actor award went to Italian actor Toni Servillo for "Una Vita Tranquilla" in which he plays a man from southern Italy who lives near Frankfurt with a young family and runs a restaurant and hotel business.

The man, Rosario Russo, keeps a low profile until one day his son Diego shows up at his doorstep and his past suddenly comes back to haunt him.

© 2010 AFP

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