Russian film wins top prize at Thessaloniki Film Festival

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The Russian film "Twilight Portrait" (Portret v sumerkahn), a dark tale of Russian society's violent side, scooped the prize for Best Feature Film at the 52nd Thessaloniki Film Festival in Greece.

Directed by Angelina Nikonova, the film is a complex psychological portrait of a social worker -- played by Olga Diovichnaya, who also co-wrote the film's screenplay -- who falls in love with the policeman who rapes her.

Since its first screening at the Sochi Open Russian Film Festival in June, the film has done well abroad, with a screening in London in October and one scheduled for the Les Arcs European Film Festival in France next month where it is in competition.

As well as winning the Golden Alexander prize, which comes with a 20,000 euro cheque, the "Twilight Portrait" also won the Greek Film Critics' prize.

The Silver Alexander Special Jury award went to a Czech production directed by Vaclav Kadmka.

"Eighty Letters" (Osmdesat Dopisu) is based on a true story from 1987 seen through the eyes of a 14-year-old boy who wants to go with his mother to England to be reunited with his father.

Judges awarded the third prize Bronze Alexander for originality and innovation to "Porfirio", a co-production by Colombia, Spain, Uruguay, France and Argentina directed by Alejandro Landes which was selected for the Directors' Fortnight in Cannes in May.

© 2011 AFP

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