Cristi Puiu's The Death of Mr Lazarescu won most of the prizes at Romania's leadingfilm event, the Transylvania International Film Festival (TIFF), held in Cluj(May 27-June 5).

Last month, the Romanian director's film won the bestfilm prize in Cannes' Un Certain Regard section.

The Death of Mr Lazarescu portrays the journey of an ailing old man into the hellish depths ofBucharest's hospitals during the course of one night. It played in front ofpacked houses, and despite its considerable 2h30 running time, grabbed theaudience award as the best film in competition. Puiu's film was also singledout by the International Film Critics Jury (FIPRESCI), he was handed the BestDirector Award and his two lead actors, Ioan Fiscuteanu and Luminita Gheorghiu wererewarded with Best Actor and Best Actress awards.

The Best Film Award was shared by Whisky by Juan Pablo Rebello and Pablo Stoll and 4 by Ilya Khrzhanovsky, with an additional nod to itscinematography, shared by his three cameramen, Alisher Khamidkhodzaev,Aleksander Ilkhovsky and Sandor Berkesi.

A special jury award for Saverio Constanzo's Private was picked up by his lead actor, Mukhammad Bakri.The two life achievement awards were bestowed on veteran French actor AnnieGirardot, who was the festival's guest of honour, and Gheorghe Dinica, a highlyrespected and popular Romanian stage and film actor.

Romanian Minister of Culture, Mona Musca, also announcedthat her office is willing to make a written commitment to ensure that TIFF,whose present edition was threatened several times by budget problems, willbenefit in future years from substantial government funds to continue its work.